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Meet Summer Associate Karchen Lhatoo

Meet Summer Associate Karchen Lhatoo

Karchen is a rising 3L at the University of Chicago Law School, where he participates in the International Law Society and the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. He also served as the vice president and events director of UChicago Law Effective Altruism, a group that applies an evidence-based approach to helping law students undertake effective public interest and pro bono work. Previously, Karchen was an advocacy fellow with Reprieve, a London-based human rights organization that builds public momentum around high-impact causes like Guantánamo Bay, human trafficking, and drone strikes. In addition, he placed first in the 112th Annual Sherman Prize Speaking Contest and fourth in the nation in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in Political Science.

What made you decide to pursue law?

My family is from Tibet, which has been under illegal occupation for more than half a century. The law has always been an inextricable part of my identity, so pursuing a career in litigation felt like a natural extension of that.

You have a strong background in human rights advocacy. How does that experience complement your work in corporate law?

Ultimately, both fields are about delivering what your client needs—you’re working for someone who wants to achieve a certain objective. As different as the actual scenarios may be, your success springs from your ability to understand the steps you have to take to complete something as effectively as possible.

You’re also an accomplished public speaker. Has that heightened your interest in in trial work?

Definitely. In fact, trial work is the primary reason I decided to join Hicks Johnson. As soon as I started researching them before my school’s OCI session, it was apparent that they did a ton of trial work and had a real interest in actually going to trial. That’s not something every firm out there can say.

What were your first impressions of the firm?

When I spoke to the recruiting partner, Adam Dinnell, during OCI, he sold me on the duality you see in the lawyers at this firm. They’re down-to-earth people who are part of a close-knit community, but they’re also competitive and totally committed to excellence. For me, that was the perfect package. I witnessed it in action on my first day—everyone came to my office to meet me and show me around. They were super friendly and attentive to everything I might need to know in order to do great work, which spoke to the ethos Dinnell had mentioned.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’d like to eventually find a medium between trial work and advocacy. More importantly, though, I just want to be a successful, seasoned litigator who’s achieved outstanding results and handled a wide variety of cases. I can tell my time at Hicks Johnson is going to put me on the right track in that respect. I’ve just started working on several oil and gas matters, which is something I’ve never done before. I’m really excited to keep learning.