Spotlight: Maria Kim-Bautista
This month’s spotlight is Maria Kim-Bautista. Maria is a Senior Legal Advisor for Population Data BC at UBC and was a past President as well as one of the founding members of FACL BC.
What is something that not many people know about you?
I speak Japanese. One of my undergrad majors was in Japanese Language & Culture and I spent my 3rd year undergrad on an exchange program at Waseda University in Tokyo, living with a Japanese host family (who didn't speak any English). It was the best time of my life!
How did you first get involved with FACL?
I first got involved with FACL BC in my 2nd year of law school in 2011. I was new to UBC / Allard Law, being a transfer student from the University of Alberta, and wanted to connect with other lawyers and legal professionals in Vancouver. I was one of the founding members of FACL BC, and stayed on the board for about 9 years, including my time serving as the President in 2017-18. Having been part of the FACL family for so long and wishing to further support its cause, my husband, Nicco, and I were motivated to recently create an award for first-generation law students at Allard Law.
What advice would you give yourself if you were to go back in time?
Don't be afraid to seek out what you want. You will enter law school with preconceived notions about what path you ought to take in your career. Over time, your perception of your ideal career might be influenced by your desire to satisfy expectations from your community or financial commitments. Instead, try and remain true to your values, what you find interesting, and what you want out of your career, as in the long run, it will make your journey more rewarding.
What has been your favourite FACL event or initiative so far?
Mentorship events and initiatives for sure. One of the reasons why I jumped at the opportunity to join FACL BC was that I felt that there was a lack of support and a sense of community for Asian law students navigating the legal world. I found that many Asian law students who I spoke with are the first in their families to pursue law and may therefore lack the exposure, insights and connections in the legal community enjoyed by some of their peers (note: my first encounter with a real-life lawyer was at my 1L wine and cheese event!) I am proud that FACL BC, from day 1, has placed a strong emphasis on its mentorship program so that the law students who join FACL BC can continue to be supported in law school and throughout their respective legal careers.