December 31, 2012 12:00
Singer Lee So-eun recently passed the U.S. bar exam, offering an alternative role model for Korean youngsters who regard becoming a celebrity as the be-all and end-all of existence.
For Lee, going to law school was not an escape from a flagging musical career. She has released four albums since debuting in 1998, when she was just in high school. Lee spent her childhood in the U.S. and had difficulty adjusting to school back to Korea. Then she happened to hear about an audition on education broadcaster EBS and entered it. She made it to the finals with a piece she composed by herself.
Thanks to her background in violin, Lee got a chance to perform on stage with singer and songwriter Jung Jae-hyung. That led to other opportunities, and eventually became a mainstream pop singer.
The young girl with the clear voice appeared destined to become a singer and her songs made her many fans. Music seemed to be a lifetime profession. But Lee had another dream to become an international lawyer.
Lee graduated in English Literature at Korea University and went on to Northwestern University Law School in Chicago before landing a job with a law firm in New York. And in November of this year, she passed the New York bar exam. Although her career as a singer has tentatively ended, a new chapter in her life has opened.
Lee says she had a lot of second thoughts about going to law school, since her musical career was already on a solid path. But she had wanted to be a lawyer since she was a child, being an avid fan of courtroom dramas. Her favorite movie is "Philadelphia" with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, and she says she saw it so many times that she can recite the lines in every major scene.
Lee said it's better to start something and have doubts about it than to regret not having had the courage to do it at all. "Those who take on the challenge earn the gifts of confidence and experience, regardless of the results," she said. "The moment you allow yourself to take on new challenges, the changes already start to take place."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com