Kim Kardashian West: entertainment mogul, reality television star ... attorney at law?
The "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star has revealed that her zeal for prison reform has spurred her to pursue a law degree, which she can achieve in California without having to go to law school.
She told Vogue magazine that she is aiming to take the California bar exam in 2022 after a four-year apprenticeship program under a pair of lawyers.
California is one of four states that doesn't require a law degree to take the bar exam, allowing aspiring lawyers the opportunity to complete apprenticeships with practicing attorneys before taking the test.
"I had to think long and hard about this,'' Kardashian West told Vogue.View this graphic on today.com
"It's definitely not a trend, it's definitely not a fad,'' Kardashian West's own attorney, Shawn Holley, told Natalie Morales on TODAY Thursday. "It's not something to get attention. This is a true and authentic interest that she has had and a commitment to taking it to the next level."
TODAY anchor Savannah Guthrie, who has a law degree from Georgetown University and passed the bar in her home state of Arizona, knows that preparing for the exam requires serious dedication.
"California's bar is reputed to be one of the hardest,'' she said on TODAY Thursday. "The bar exam is very hard. You have to memorize a lot of law. It's multiple choice, and it's an essay portion, so I say that if she can pass that bar, then she deserves to be an attorney."
Kardashian West is being mentored by attorneys Jessica Jackson and Erin Haney, who are part of #cut50, a bipartisan criminal reform initiative co-founded by Jackson and CNN commentator Van Jones.
Her interest in pursuing a law degree came in the wake of a successful campaign in which she lobbied President Trump in May for the release of Alice Marie Johnson, 63, who had served more than 21 years in federal prison for nonviolent charges related to drug possession and money laundering. President Trump commuted her life sentence after meeting with Kardashian West and Johnson.
Her passion for prison reform has also led her to pay five years' worth of rent for former inmate Matthew Charles, who was struggling to find housing. He was released under the First Step Act, which was signed in December by President Trump after Kardashian West visited the White House to champion the law to ease mandatory minimum drug sentences.
"It’s never one person who gets things done; it’s always a collective of people, and I’ve always known my role, but I just felt like I wanted to be able to fight for people who have paid their dues to society,'' she told Vogue. "I just felt like the system could be so different, and I wanted to fight to fix it, and if I knew more, I could do more."
Kardashian West has also seen the life of a high-powered lawyer up close. She is the daughter of the late Robert Kardashian, who famously was part of the legal team that helped get O.J. Simpson acquitted of murder charges in his criminal trial.
"On the weekends they used our home as an office, with Johnnie Cochran and Bob Shapiro,'' she told Vogue. "My dad had a library, and when you pushed on this wall there was this whole hidden closet room, with all of his O.J. evidence books. On weekends I would always snoop and look through. I was really nosy about the forensics."
Kardashian West's first hurdle will come this summer when she will take a shorter version of the California bar exam, known as the "baby bar," which she must pass to be given approval by the state to continue three more years of study to prepare for the bar exam.
"She’s always had it in her,'' he told Vogue.