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May Jung Law Firm Employee Spotlight: Jaeun Wakeling


Jaeun Wakeling Image

We pride ourselves on bringing together a diverse and powerful group of team members. And, while we share core values and a passion for social justice, we’re made even stronger by the diverse thinking, expertise, and lived experiences that each person brings to the team. 

This blog series is designed to help you get to know each of them!

Meet JP Wakeling

Jaeun “JP” Wakeling has been a part of the May Jung team from the beginning – joining the firm at its launch in November of 2022. She brings her high level of organizational skills and passion for activism to work as a Paralegal. 

JP earned a BA in Economics with a minor in Public Policy from UC Berkeley in 2021.  She has previously worked as a sales data analyst for a family-owned foodservice company, as a research assistant for UC Berkeley and the National Bureau of Economic Research, and on the weekend, she serves as a Financial Management Officer in the Army Reserves.

What attracted you to work at May Jung?

JP: When I interviewed for the firm, Je Yon explained to me that the mission of the firm was to give underrepresented people another avenue for justice. This is the type of mission that compels you to work late, makes it easy to come in to work early, and necessitates that you give 110%. I wanted to work at May Jung because I knew that the mission of the firm would force me to reach my full potential because our clients often have no one else fighting for them.

What’s your why? What–or who–motivates you every day?

JP: My family is my reason for everything. My parents, who immigrated to America with nothing and have given me everything, and my husband, who is my best friend and who pushes me to be my best.

What is a childhood experience that helped shape who you are today?

JP: I grew up with parents that taught me the value of my rights – as a citizen and as a human. Some of my earliest memories are of being at demonstrations for immigrant rights in Los Angeles. Growing up around people who were passionate about fighting for what they deserve instilled a very strong sense of duty and pride in me, and has compelled me to continue the fight.

Is there a personal experience or a specific moment that clarified your passion for working in law?

JP: Not as serious as my other answers, but probably watching the West Wing.

Is there a specific case or project you’ve worked on that had a profound impact on you personally? Why did it resonate with you?

JP: The cases that have impacted me the most are the cases where we are up against big pharmaceutical companies. Our clients are folks who have just been trying to live their lives, and have taken a medication that was purported to help them, but instead they find their lives irrevocably harmed by a company that doesn’t care about anyone and anything but their own bottom line. These cases cut kind of deep because there’s an evil driven by greed that scares me a lot, but it’s also what makes the work we do so important.

In your opinion, what sets May Jung apart from others in the field?

JP: We are 100% minority owned, and our mission statement, “Justice for our people is personal” says it all – our people are those who have not really had an avenue for justice before, and May Jung is one of the first to pave the way.

How would you define the idea of social justice?

JP: To me, social justice is about righting the wrongs of society.

What values shape the way you approach your work?

JP: I always want to be a member of a team that is reliable and known for quality. My parents really stressed the importance of being a good member of society, and by extension a good member of the team. It’s important to me that people know that they can count on me to be there for anything and everything that comes our way.

Beyond your professional role, what are some personal interests or passions that influence the way you approach your work?

JP: I’m a huge nerd so I love to read up on processes, rules, regulations, etc. It’s why law is kind of a perfect fit – because I can geek out on systems and love learning how they work.

What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of work?

JP: I love reading, traveling, and eating out. I love to try new restaurants and explore new spots with my husband.

What’s something about yourself that doesn’t show up in your bio?

JP: My secret dream is to move to Japan. I’m addicted to sweets. My favorite state that I’ve visited is, unexpectedly, Missouri.

What do you hope to achieve or contribute to the legal field during your career?

JP: I’d like to eventually contribute to legislation. Or continue in the civil litigation field. I’m not quite sure yet, just definitely sure that I want to become an attorney one day.

If you had unlimited resources to solve one societal challenge, what would it be and why?

JP: I would like to develop the perfect education system. It’s one public policy problem that I’m super passionate about, because I think it’s the great equalizer, and I also think it’s incredibly important to make society function efficiently.

If you could learn the answer to one question, what would you ask?

JP: Why does my dog have to take one bite of kibble from the bowl and then have to hide it somewhere else? And then she comes back to eat the rest in the bowl?

If you could have a meal with any living person, who would you choose and why?

JP: Michael Lewis – he’s the author of Moneyball, the Big Short, the Blind Side. Moneyball is the reason why I majored in Economics. I’ve read every book of his that I could get my hands on and would totally geek out if I could have a conversation with him.

Imagine yourself in 20 years. What’s something meaningful you want to have achieved?

JP: In 20 years, I’ve hopefully gone to law school, passed the bar, and am working as an attorney in DC. 

What’s the biggest opportunity for the May Jung team to seize?

JP: We need to go international! Go bigger! People everywhere deserve the level of dedication and fight that we will give.