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Kyung Jae Han: Motivated by the Challenge of his Practice, Honored by his Clients’ Trust


Kyung Jae Han: Motivated by the Challenge of his Practice, Honored by his Clients’ Trust

May 10, 2024
Kyung Jae Han

In the end, it’s all math to Goldberg Segalla’s Kyung Jae Han.

“When I was studying middle school math, my parents taught me how even verbal arguments can be simplified into an algorithmic flowchart,” said Kyung Jae, a Manhattan-based attorney in the firm’s Workers’ Compensation practice group. “That has always been my approach when cluttered words and disorganized facts of the cases I handle try to veil the true legal issues and potential arguments.

“Legal problems are surprisingly akin to math problems,” he noted. “For the cases I cannot analyze inside my head in 10 minutes, I always start drawing charts. I try to untangle the complexity first and then find solutions. It is similar to simplifying the college-level linear algebra to the 7th-grade linear algebra, which is much easier to solve. Instead of analyzing the whole issue from A-to-Z, I spot the common red-flag issues first and expand therefrom.”

Call it a legal twist on “chaos theory,” the study of apparently random or unpredictable behavior in systems governed by deterministic laws. In fact, Kyung Jae admits, ‘chaos’ is something on which he thrives.

“Chaotic cases with dearth of factual certainty that leave a lot of room for investigation, creative arguments and surprises — they bring out the best in me,” he said. “And those are the cases where one really needs the help of an attorney.”

While it was in middle school where Kyung Jae learned how to breakdown and analyze verbal arguments, it was in high school while participating in a mock trial where he discovered his interest in the law.

“The thrill of the first successful cross-examination with witness impeachment, developing clear and concise answers to the mock appellate judge’s questions during the oral argument and the feeling of accomplishment when sending the completed appellate brief — they led me to the law.”

That “thrill” Kyung Jae experienced during mock trial as a high school student is something that remains present today as he represents insurers and self-insured employers in Workers’ Compensation matters, with a particular focus on construction and labor cases.

“Workers’ compensation” Kyung Jae said, “was one of the few litigation practices I first encountered, and I was enamored by how fast-paced it was and how it allowed room for creative arguments.”

While Kyung Jae enjoys the challenge of his practice, he is especially motivated by the relationship he builds with his clients, whose trust in him he never takes for granted.

“People will trust my acumen and based on my advice, make decisions that lead to real consequences,” he said. “I am honored that my advice has such weight.

“Practice of law is extremely complicated, and all members of the industry have their own roles,” Kyung Jae added. “Lawyers do not know everything and every now and then, I ask clients to give me a sneak-peek into how they handle parts of the job — the parts that we do not get to see.

“Clients always appreciate diligent communication. I am confident that I deliver that at least, and even when I occasionally do not have answers to their questions right away, I do not wait until I have the answers. I let them know that I will consult my colleagues at GS who are masters of my field. That way, I do not leave clients with uncertainties and can promote to them that my firm has a great support network.”

Goldberg Segalla’s network of support is not all that’s important to Kyung Jae. So too is the firm’s unyielding commitment to expanding opportunities to attorneys from diverse and traditionally underrepresented communities.

“There is significant room for improvement regarding Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in law, especially in litigation,” Kyung Jae said. “Particular underrepresentation in litigation may come from how AAPIs are still explicitly, or implicitly, viewed as ‘the others’ or ‘foreigners’ in American society, evidenced by subtle compliments the AAPIs often get for having foreign-sounding names and good command of English simultaneously.

“The legal industry should also recognize that AAPI encompasses hundreds of different cultures and ethnicities,” he noted. “Even if certain subgroups within the AAPI umbrella — for instance, East Asians — become relatively well-represented in law, that should not cause the industry to neglect that other subgroups of AAPI may still be underrepresented.

“That said, I am glad that GS has added numerous AAPI associates/partners over the last few years and strives to lead in its commitment to diversity.”

That’s not all that sets Goldberg Segalla apart from other firms, Kyung Jae said.

“While all attorneys I have seen at the firm are extremely hard working, the firm understands that attorneys have life outside work and encourages them to cherish that.”

After all, everyone deserves a break from those ‘chaotic’ cases — even those who enjoy them.