“Not bad for a girl with no talent” is one of Kim Kardashian West’s most iconic lines. However, the super-celebrity is far from talentless. From being a groundbreaking businesswoman to being able to smell cavities, Kim has an array of talents, her most important one arguably being the ability to completely change this country’s laws.
Kim Kardashian West, Esquire
In April of 2019, Kim announced her decision to take the bar exam in 2022, and the legal apprenticeship she is taking on in lieu of law school. The decision did not shock many, because of her previous expressed interest in the legal system and its reform. In June of 2018, Kim took a special interest in Alice Marie Johnson, a first-time, non-violent drug offender whose life sentence was commuted after Kim famously pleaded the case to Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
Kim Kardashian’s announcement, however, received a lot of criticism. Many are upset at the fact that she does not have a Bachelor’s degree, and is using her wealth and privilege to avoid law school and get professional legal and educational assistance at home. Becoming a lawyer by “reading the law” through an apprenticeship instead of law school is legal in some states like it is in California where Kim is studying.
If Kim Kardashian can become a lawyer without going to law school can I become a doctor without going to med school? #seriousquestion
— Ashleigh Mount (@ashleighmount12) July 2, 2019
Kim has also been largely criticized for cherry-picking cases, in the wake of her more recent advocacy for the case of a man from Miami called Jeffrey, incarcerated for 22 years on a low-level drug offense. However, despite the individual cases and showcased prison releases, the model and influencer is doing some real work to change the way that the system works as a whole.
First Steps Towards a Better America
The First Step Act stands for “Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act,” a long title for an act that essentially puts in place programming to ensure the safe rehabilitation of ex-prisoners into society. Kim Kardashian was instrumental in getting Donald Trump to sign the Act into law in December of 2018. In addition to that, most recently, Kim has been in the news for a partnership with Lyft, in which she struck a deal with the company to allow free rides for 5,000 formerly incarcerated people to attend job interviews.
Kim Kardashian might be choosing individual cases to highlight, but she is also helping the masses. Many have praised her involvement with prison reform, and I am one of those people. I believe that, as much as she may seem to be doing her work for publicity, Kim is making a real impact on the prison system. The wealth and privilege that she has are being put, in part, towards helping people without said wealth or privilege.
Speaking Out and Speaking Up
Kim Kardashian is also very hands-on with her activism, using her connections to get her there. She spoke at the White House recently for a Prisoner-Reentry Event, where she announced her Lyft partnership and her work on second-chance hiring. She spoke on her journey with prison reform, and her passion for it. In her words, she is “at the place in [her] life where [she] wanted to do the right thing.” She also mentioned her strong interest in allowing formally-incarcerated people to reenter society with compassion and support.
No matter what Kim Kardashian does, critics will jump out. However, I personally firmly believe that all negative comments on her legal involvement are baseless; Kim Kardashian is changing the law, more than the majority of students currently in law school, or even most lawyers. Her wealth, fame and privilege have an enormous role in it, but she is using her advantages in the correct way. Kim has made a real, tangible impact on the law of the United States, in only a year of studying law.
Kim Kardashian is highly idiotic for trying to compare herself reading a couple of law memos as her going to “law school” ??. Everything that she’s trying to do rn for criminal justice reform is a publicity stunt in my eyes.
— Bailey McCummings (@Bailey_McCumm) June 15, 2019
Maybe it is indeed a publicity stunt, and maybe she does not truly care for incarcerated people. However, regardless of her feelings on the matter, which I believe to be genuine, her work is positive. Kim Kardashian is changing U.S. law for the better, and that will always be an amazing thing in my eyes. I strongly applaud her for it.
Cover image: Today Show