In a new Oxygen documentary called Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West fights for people she believes have been mistreated by injustices in the U.S. criminal justice system. She has already been a part of securing clemency for Alice Marie Johnson, a great-grandmother serving a life sentence as a first-time nonviolent offender, and the documentary chronicles Kardashian West’s work on four other cases.
As she works alongside Cut50, a campaign to lower mass incarceration, Kardashian West talks about how she is studying to become a lawyer. Fans may be wondering how that works and where she is attending law school.
The short answer is — she isn’t going to law school, but she can become a lawyer anyway. Read on to find out how.
In California, You Don’t Have to Attend Law School
In California (and several other states), a would-be lawyer is not required to attend law school in order to be admitted to the state bar. The requirements in California are four years of study in a law office where each applicant has put in at least 18 hours per week that include five hours of direct supervision by an attorney who has been actively practicing law for at least five years. There are also monthly exams and a bi-annual progress report made to the California State Bar. After completing the required study, the applicant also has to pass the state bar exam.
This is how Kardashian West is going to become a lawyer. At the 2020 Television Critics Association winter press tour, she told critics that Van Jones, a TV Personality and criminal justice activist who is the CEO of the REFORM Alliance, is her sponsor for the study of law.
“In order to study or read the law in California, you have to get a law firm to sponsor you to have your apprenticeship. And so, Van put that together for me,” explained Kardashian West. “So, the way that it works in California is not only do you have to put in 20 hours a week in actual studying of courses, but you also have to participate in what the office is doing, the policy that they’re working on.”
Kardashian West went on to explain that Jessica Jackson, the founder of Cut50, has been working with Kardashian West on specific cases that the organization represents.
“I work with Cut50 all the time and other organizations like ARC (the Anti-Recidivism Coalition) that help with reentry once people get out of prison and how they’re going to find jobs and housing. They work with that as well as Cut50. So, there are a few other organizations. We all get them together and work together all the time,” she explained.
Kim Credits Her Father For Her Interest in the Law
Kim Kardashian West’s late father was Robert Kardashian, a well-known Los Angeles lawyer who worked on O.J. Simpson’s defense team in the early 1990s. He passed away in 2003 at the age of 59, and Kardashian West credits his influence with her interest in studying law.
She told the 2020 winter TCA that her father made them sign contracts for everything, like when she got her first car and had to sign a contract saying she would gas it up and wash it once a week. Then when she was a teenager, he was working on the Simpson case and she would sneak into his office to look at his material about the trial. She said she always wanted “to be a crime scene investigator or an attorney.”
But the Justice Project work specifically drew her in because the more she learned about it, the more horrified she became at the wrongs people have suffered at the hands of the system.
“I heard horrific stories, but it opened up my heart because I know after hearing their circumstances that I would do anything to fight for them because they did deserve a second chance,” said Kardashian West, adding:
I am obsessed with crime shows. That’s why I love Oxygen, but I’ve never seen a crime show that was really from the other side, from the person that had done it situation. And I think it’s really important, there really are two sides to every story, and I was never that type of person to believe that. I was always so, ‘They should be locked up forever,’ and never wanting to hear their side of the story. And since I would go to prison after prison and sit down with these people and hear their stories, I realized there’s a whole other side that is never being shown on TV, and so that’s why I really wanted to partner and do a documentary that shared from a completely different perspective and mindset.
Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project premieres Sunday, April 5, at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen.