Il-Won Kang, LLM '93, appointed to Korea's Constitutional Court
By John Masson
Sept. 21, 2012
Il-Won Kang's appointment this week to Korea's Constitutional Court marks the third time since 2010 that Michigan Law LLM graduates from the class of '93 have been named to their country's highest courts.
Kang's appointment as one of nine Constitutional Court justices was approved during a meeting of the National Assembly. Lawmakers appointed other new justices to the court at the same time, according to news reports.
Hwa-Jin Kim, a William W. Cook Global Law Professor at Michigan Law, said the appointment is in keeping with the quality of the cadre of Michigan Law graduates in Korea.
"In general, the Korean Michigan Law alumni club is relatively small," Prof. Kim said, although it does include other senior judges. "And the quality of our graduates is well known to the legal community in Korea."
Mark West, the school's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Nippon Life Professor of Law, said the relatively small size of the international program helps account for the collegiality that is its hallmark—and for the tight-knit nature of the international alumni group.
"Michigan Law's history of international legal scholarship stretches back almost to our founding more than 150 years ago," said Prof. West. "Justice Kang's appointment to his country's highest court is another example of the strength of that history, and we're delighted to hear about it."
Kang's appointment caps his long list of judicial accomplishments, including sitting as a judge on several lower courts, including the Seoul High Court. He also held a number of appointments to important judicial policy posts, including Chief Judicial Policy Coordinator at the National Court Administration for the Korean Supreme Court, and he studied American courts in the National Center for State Courts in 1997. Kang also served internationally as rapporteur
for Working Group II (Arbitration and Conciliation) with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law in Vienna in 2004.
Kang joins classmates Susanne Baer and Maria Lourdes Aranal Sereno in serving on their countries' respective high courts. Baer was elected to the German Federal Constitutional Court in 2011. Sereno was named to the Supreme Court of the Philippines in 2010, and recently became Chief Justice.
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