Kim Kardashian has recently made headlines after taking the first steps to become a lawyer by passing the First-Year Law Students’ Examination, also known as the “baby bar,” after failing three times.
Built on an image associated with a ditzy disposition, Kardashian has made steps to become highly educated, following in the footsteps of her father, Robert Kardashian. Although her famous family has capitalized on the almost “lack of talent” the daughters possess, it is clear that the women are everything but talentless.
In 2017, Kardashian took her first steps into the world of the criminal justice system.
Upon meeting Alice Johnson, a 61-year-old woman who was arrested for drug trafficking in the 1990s and given no chance of parole, Kardashian saw an opportunity to change a life and share Alice’s story. After speaking with former president Donald Trump, Kardashian assisted Johnson in assimilating to a life outside of prison, and was able to help other women who were incarcerated.
This ignited Kardashian’s career in justice reform. Not long after the release of Johnson, the First Step Act campaign began, led by Kardashian, which supported conducive societal re-entry for newly released prisoners. Under the introduction of this act, she managed to free 17 prisoners on death row for non-violent crimes and assisted in paying rent for an inmate struggling to readapt, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
After two years of work, Kardashian managed to make it a step closer to practicing law. In an Instagram post to commemorate the moment she passed the baby bar, Kardashian states that she “was told by top lawyers that this was a close to impossible journey… but [she] feels so good… achieving [her] goals.”
Being the daughter of Robert Kardashian, who was a prominent lawyer (most notable for the O.J. Simpson case), the stakes were high, but her support has been widespread.
Junior Nina McMullen believes that the actions Kardashian is taking are a step in the right direction for future generations of young women.
“Being someone of that stature and status means essentially everyone is looking up to you in one way or another,” McMullen said.
“For years, Kardashian was seen as a ditzy reality star who didn’t have much going for her but I think by becoming a business woman and a lawyer, she’s showing the younger generation that no matter who you are, how famous you are, how old you are, or whatever, that you can accomplish your dreams.”
McMullen, like many others, recognizes the difficult path Kardashian has followed to reach such a landmark accomplishment.
While many take the traditional law school path, Kardashian opted to become an apprentice because of her busy schedule as a businesswoman, influencer and mother. This involved her following accomplished lawyers, Jessica Jackson and Erin Haney, to understand the ins and outs of the law, without sitting in a classroom.
This is a highly unpopular option for law students, and according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, in 2015 out of 13,084 test takers, only 3 took this path. As for the fourth test she took in October 2021, there was only a 21% pass rate and Kardashian made the cut. Though this first step doesn’t mean she’s a real lawyer quite yet, she has passed the biggest milestone. She will still have to take a second exam to complete her studies.
While she has received wide acclaim for this milestone in her law career, criticism hasn’t been far behind. Junior Kyra McFadden is skeptical if her impact is being interpreted in the way it should, but hopes for the best.
“I think it could encourage younger girls since she is such a famous and well known person, but also I think that she is known for a lot of bad things, too,” McFadden said.
“I think a lot of people underestimate her, and her becoming a lawyer could prove people wrong. Like I think she failed the baby bar exam and people had a lot of negativity about it, but her taking the real bar exam and passing could be like ‘you may think I’m stupid, but look at me now’.”
Kim Kardashian’s transition from Hollywood “it” girl to criminal justice reform advocate has given her platform a new purpose. Through the backlash and criticism, Kardashian has found her calling, and it’s clear she isn’t stopping anytime soon.