We Welcome the Honorable Julie Lee Kim
Bergen County Welcomes the Honorable Julie Lee Kim, J.S.C. to the Family Division
By: Evelyn F. Nissirios, Esq.
I recently had the honor and privilege of interviewing the Honorable Julie Lee Kim, J.S.C., our newest female Judge appointed to the Bergen County Superior Court Family Division on June 26, 2023.
While Bergen County has over 60,000 residents of Korean descent, Judge Kim is the first Asian American to be appointed to the Bergen County Superior Court bench. Judge Kim’s parents were immigrants from South Korea, and Judge Kim is the youngest of three children. She was born and raised in New Jersey. As co-chair of the Diversity in the Profession Committee, a committee dedicated to promoting diversity within the legal profession, Judge Kim felt that the Asian American population was unrepresented in Bergen County. “This was the main reason for me wanting to become a judge,” said Judge Kim. “I wanted to ensure that the Asian American population is represented within the community with a diverse bench.”
There is no question that Judge Kim’s extensive educational background and experience makes Her Honor wellsuited for the Family Part. Judge Kim received her undergraduate degree from New York University, with a major in Political Science. She went on to obtain her Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Boston College, Carroll School of Management in 2002. Judge Kim worked for Putnam Investments Management as the Assistant Vice President of Global Trading for approximately five years. After receiving her MBA, Judge Kim went on to obtain her law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law, Class of 2006. While in law school, Judge Kim interned for the Honorable Harold C. Hollenbeck, J.S.C. (Ret.), and upon graduating law school, became his law clerk. Judge Kim was responsible for handling the management of Judge Hollenbeck’s PostJudgment motion calendar, the Juvenile calendar and the Children-inCourt docket.
Judge Kim was in private practice for over 17 years before her appointment to the Superior Court. Judge Kim was a Partner at Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf, LLP where she specialized in Family and Matrimonial Law. When asked if she will miss the days of private practice, Judge Kim remarked, “I don’t miss the complaining clients, but I do miss my legal colleagues. That is going to be the biggest challenge.” While the transition from private practice to the Superior Court may come with a feeling of isolation, Judge Kim noted that the Judiciary has been very welcoming. “Both current and retired judges have been tremendous in offering their support and mentoring me during this process.” Judge Kim acknowledged that while the volume of cases to be heard and the judicial shortage may be a challenge, “the difficulty will be learning to manage the calendar while making sure we are hearing litigants and allowing lawyers to be lawyers.” Judge Kim is looking forward to hearing cases and making decisions. With her background in finance, Judge Kim is certainly not afraid of the numbers!
Despite her busy private practice, Judge Kim always made public service a priority, having volunteered with various committees throughout her legal career. Not only was Judge Kim co-chair of the Diversity in the Profession Committee and a member of the Asian Pacific Lawyers Association, but Her Honor was also a member of the District II-B Ethics Committee, a trustee with the Bergen County Bar Association, a member of Women Lawyers in Bergen County and the New Jersey State Bar Association, a board member with the Asian Women’s Christian Association, a member of the Collaborative Divorce Association of North Jersey, and a volunteer for the Early Settlement Panels for both Passaic and Bergen Counties. Judge Kim spoke highly of WLIB, noting how great it is that the organization honors and recognizes women members of the Judiciary and the Bar.
As I sat across the table from Judge Kim in her Chambers, it was obvious to me that she is eager and ready to work full steam ahead.
“I am energized with the fact that I can make a difference. It will take time to get there, but I hope once my feet get wet, I’ll be able to make a meaningful impact to the citizens of the state and the legal profession as a whole. There is still a lot to learn. No matter how much you practiced law, it’s not the same. I’m in the learning process now, and there will be a learning curve. I see every case as an opportunity to learn. I hope that I am able to make good decisions.”
On behalf of the members of Women Lawyers in Bergen County, we welcome Judge Kim to the bench and wish Her Honor a very successful future in the Family Division, where we hope she will stay for years to come!