If you meet Kim Reeves, on the surface her journey to law school has similarities to the iconic character of Elle Woods in the movie “Legally Blonde.”
A seamstress since age 3, Reeves became a successful Utah-based fashion designer with a booming business manufacturing custom dance costumes, choir dresses, and bridal apparel to a diverse clientele while she worked her way to an undergraduate degree from the U in history in 2004. She continued building her business while supporting her husband through military deployments and growing a family in Layton.
But a health scare in 2013 involving a massive blood clot during one of her pregnancies left Reeves reassessing what she wanted from a career moving forward. She’d added an MBA from Weber State to her resume in 2012, gaining more knowledge to advance her small business to a larger scale. She and her husband started talking about law school and whether it would be the right fit for Reeves.
“I wanted more education and I wanted job that would be more flexible,” said Reeves. “I thought about it, I pondered it and it started to feel like the right idea. I had a baby in the spring of 2014. I ordered a LSAT prep book that I took to the hospital with me when he was born and I started studying.”
Reeves performed better on the test than she anticipated, gaining entrance to BYU and the U. Every step of the way, doors were opening and law school felt more and more like the right thing to do, she said. She chose the U, drawn to the law school’s small class sizes and collaborative community among students.
She jokes that her career change, which materialized when she realized she simply wanted to do something different with her life, had one parallel to Elle Woods, the character from “Legally Blonde,” the 2001 film about a seemingly ditzy sorority girl with a background in fashion design who becomes a star at Harvard Law School.
“The short story is, I woke up one morning and decided to go to law school,” laughed Reeves, borrowing a line from the film.
But her path through three years at the S.J. Quinney College of Law to commencement as part of the Class of 2018 came with challenges far more real than a fictional movie. She started law school with four kids and added a fifth child to the family in November of her 2L year. Her husband Jesse, a member of the Air National Guard, was deployed to the middle east in April of her 1L year through January of her 2L year —leaving Reeves to manage the household (and to deliver the couple’s newest arrival) alone while also balancing a grueling course load.
Reeves received support from family in Alpine to juggle work, life and school. Family stepped up to care for her children, now ages 12, 10, 8, 4 and 1, on days when she had class or needed extra time to study. But besides her family, she said, classmates were an integral part to helping her succeed.
“I really feel like law school was a big family effort,” said Reeves. “I recognize that I have a different circumstance than most of the students do and everyone has been really good. People helped me out. A lot. They weren’t judgey at all —especially when I had my fifth baby in law school,” she added with a laugh.
Reeves approached the challenges of law school with a cool, calm demeanor reminiscent of the most seasoned of attorneys, said Cathy Hwang, an associate professor at the S.J. Quinney College of Law who taught Reeves in three separate courses related to business law. Besides excelling in classes, Reeves was active as a student rep on the law school’s faculty hiring committee, a curriculum committee, the Student Veterans Association and The Federalist Society.
“Kim is an inspiration. She’s hardworking, never afraid to speak her mind, and extremely engaged in the life of the school. Not only is she a talented student, but she’s a valued community member. I’m so glad she chose to spend her three years here, and I can’t wait to see her take her smarts, her calm demeanor, and her passion for service into business-law practice,” said Hwang.
As a new graduate and alumni of law school, Reeves will relocate with her family to Idaho Falls, ready to start a career in business law with the law firm Hopkins, Roden, Crockett, Hansen & Hoopes.
“I want to help people. I want to help businesses get set up, I want to help people with their estate plans, I want to help make deals happen and solve problems that create value for people,” said Reeves. “I look forward to being involved in the legal community. I have a lot of respect for the intelligence and capabilities of my peers and all the lawyers I’ve met.”