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Fighting For People's Liberty

With Anna Yum

Published on: Oct 26, 2018

From prosecutor to defense attorney, Anna Yum has successfully represented clients on charges ranging from serious and/or violent offenses such as rape, sexual assault, child molestation, murder, attempted murder, criminal street gang cases, robbery, felony offenses with firearm enhancements, domestic violence with great bodily injury enhancements, etc. to lower-level offenses including driving under the influence, theft-related offenses, narcotics cases, probation violations, and much more. Anna is a premier criminal defense and DUI attorney in San Diego. She shares her journey to become a defense attorney, what challenges she had to go through, and the most unforgettable cases she’s had in her mission to fight for people’s liberty.

Fighting For People’s Liberty with Anna Yum

Life is unpredictable and it can often feel impossible to find a balance between what you want and what you have. Perhaps you’re feeling trapped or constrained because of your cultural boundaries. Whatever the case, I’m glad you are here with me. You will hear stories from Asian women who have found a way to create a life that gives them the power, freedom and choice to be who they want to be while still respecting their culture. I have a special guest for you. Let me introduce Anna Yum. Anna Yum is a premier criminal defense and DUI attorney in San Diego, California. She is licensed to practice in the state and federal courts in both the Southern and Central Districts of California. She is also licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois. Anna has successfully represented clients on charges ranging from serious offenses such as rape, sexual assault, child molestation, murder, robbery and domestic violence. To lower-level offenses including DUI, theft-related offenses, narcotic cases, probation violations and many more. Here are a few of Anna’s accomplishments and awards. She received Super Lawyers Awards for 2016, 2017 and 2018, and Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2015. She was awarded the top 100 Trial Lawyers in a National Trial Lawyers. She received from Avvo.com the Client’s Choice Award every year since 2013. Please help me welcome Anna Yum.

Anna, welcome to the Asian Women of Power podcast. Please give us some background about your family, who or what inspired you to get into law?

Thank you so much for having me on your podcast. It’s truly an honor and I’m very happy to be here. To answer your question, I am Korean-American and second generation. My parents immigrated here to the United States in the 1970s. They are both from South Korea. Growing up, my older sister and I were born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. I went to school in Illinois. My undergraduate education was at Northwestern University. I came to law school out here in California at the University of San Diego. My passion for wanting to become a trial lawyer started very early in my life. My father was a big inspiration to me and he always told me, “You always want to get a higher education because no one can ever take that away from you. Even though you’re Korean-American and you’re a female, you can do the same things if not better than any of your competitors.”

He always stressed to me the significance of increasing my level of education and pursuing a career that suited to my personality. The skills that I excelled in as a child are oral advocacy and public speaking, whether it was little plays or little dramas, to actual presentations or speeches in front of hundreds of people. My father recognized that at a young age and he led me down this path of possibly pursuing a career in law. I was interested in this field ever since I was maybe a seventh grade or eighth grade. Those skill sets have continued on with me in my years to where I am, which is a trial lawyer. I absolutely love what I do.

You’re interested in law at seventh grade, did you know what it take for you to become a lawyer? Did you know whether an attorney or a lawyer is the right career for you?

At first, I didn’t know because at seventh grade I was thinking, “What exactly is a lawyer? What does a lawyer do?” Both my mom and my dad would explain to me, “You’d have to know about the law. You would have to be a voice and advocate for people who can’t necessarily defend themselves.” At seventh grade, I didn’t know what type of law that I would want to practice. I didn’t know the specifics of what a lawyer truly does. I knew the general premise of basically serving as someone’s advocate and speaking for them. I knew that at that age. As the years progressed and as I kept going forward, the more I would study different types of classes in school, whether it was pre-law, political science in college or learning about a famous defense lawyer named Clarence Darrow in high school. These were certain milestones, certain steps that I took along the way to try to increase my knowledge about what a lawyer does. Also to confirm what I wanted to do in my life going forward.

It’s a great preparation from your parents especially your father, he well-prepared you for that. Briefly share with us your journey to become a defense attorney. What obstacles or challenges did you have to go through?

I went through many obstacles to get to the position that I’m at. I started my career as a prosecutor. A prosecutor is the same thing for instance in my situation a deputy district attorney. I worked for the County of Riverside in California. My office was responsible for going after people who committed crimes. We would prosecute people who were charged with committing a crime whether it was something as small as driving under the influence, whether someone was arrested and charged with shoplifting. To more serious crimes such as someone who allegedly committed rape, sexual assault or murder cases. After law school, after I passed the bar exam I started as a prosecutor handling various types of cases, the cases that I described. After about two and a half years, I left the district attorney’s office so that I could create my own practice and be a criminal defense attorney in San Diego.

The experience that I gathered from the district attorney’s office gave me so much confidence in being able to open up my practice. I knew that I had handled very serious cases. I knew the ins and outs of the criminal justice system based upon the experience that I had. My experience coupled with my faith in God. I’m a Christian so it was coupled with a lot of prayers and that coupled with my encouragement that was provided by my family that helped paved the way to creating the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum. That happened back in 2008. Since then I’ve been practicing criminal defense as a sole practitioner. Looking back on my experiences, I’m so grateful of the trial experience that I did gather when I was a prosecutor because it’s helped me in all areas of my practice where I am now.

Why did you change to become a defense attorney instead of staying to become a prosecutor? 

I changed for a number of reasons. A strong lawyer and an excellent lawyer can argue both sides. It’s very important for an attorney to be able to recognize arguments on both sides of the issue, whether it’s the pros versus the cons. I truly believe in our constitution and I believe in our criminal justice system. I wanted to see what it was like on the other side meaning on the defense side to be able to work with my clients, to hear their stories, to humanize them. As a prosecutor, when you look at the people who are accused of a crime you don’t want to humanize them. You look at them as defendants. You don’t know anything about their story, about their upbringing or about their history. Whereas on the other side when you’re a criminal defense attorney, you learn and you talk to your client. You humanize them to share their story to the prosecutor.

Those are very different agendas and very different purposes. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to be on the other side so that I can work hand-in-hand with my clients and have more of that interaction. I also decided to become a criminal defense attorney because I was interested in the entrepreneurial side having my own business. I grew up with my parents having a jewelry store in the City of Chicago. I always admired my parents especially my mom. She is the best saleswoman known to mankind. She’s taught me everything I know in terms of client interaction and sales, what it means truly to engage and to run successfully your own business. I wanted to be able to practice law while running my own business. My parents served as huge role models for me to be able to get to that point. That’s what I do now is that I have the ability to practice law also running the business to help satisfy my entrepreneurial side. It was a perfect fit.

Did you get a chance to wear a lot of beautiful jewelry?

I was spoiled in that regard. I was able to wear beautiful jewelry. The most memories I have working at my parent’s store with them was watching them interact. My mom is magical when it comes to talking. She has the gift of gab. I always wanted to model myself after her in that sense. When I see that she’s interacting with her customers and how much they liked her, how much they would go back and forth, there’s a lot to be said about that back and forth interaction; a lot of emotional intelligence. I enjoy interpersonal communication. Jewelry was amazing because I’ll never complain about beautiful jewelry. It’s the underlying messages that I learned growing up just by seeing it that’s shaped me to where I am now.

Similarly like you, I grew up in a family of entrepreneur. My mom and my dad had a tailor store, fabric stores and hotels. I witnessed the way that my mom built her career or her wealth because she knows how to work with people. She did not have a lot of money, but she was able to work with suppliers and they loaned the fabric to her to sell. After she sold it, she came back and gave them the money. She made a profit in between. She’s one-handed managed more than 30 employees and everybody loved her. That is the trait that I want to learn is to become like her. My mom is my role model as well. She’s very good with the customer and for me that is the number one skill in business. If you are in the business, you need to learn how to work and serve your customer well. They are the most important person in your business besides you. Without the customer, there’s no business. How do you pick a case? What information do you need and how much information do you need before you would accept a case?

The most important factor that I look into when I decide whether to take a case is whether I can work with the client. At the end of the day, you need to be able to work with your client and have that rapport. Regardless of what the case is like, the first important step that I take is, “Can I work with this person? Do we have a good rapport with each other?” If we decide to work on a case together, there has to be that mutual trust. The client has to trust in me and likewise, I have to trust in the client because communication is the most important aspect of my job. If I can’t communicate effectively with my client, then how am I expected to effectively represent them or communicate for them? The most important thing I look at is, “Can we work together? Do we have a good working relationship?”

The second thing I look at is what are these charges? What are the allegations? What’s your side of the story? What type of evidence does the government have, meaning the prosecutor, what evidence do they have against you? What are our goals? The reason I say that is because there’s a big difference between looking at a case and saying, “This is a case of guilt versus not guilty.” Then there’s another way of looking at it and saying, “What are the client’s goals?” Sometimes a client says to me, “I want to mitigate. I want to bring the damages down. Any punishment I want to minimize.” Whereas other people say, “I never did this. I’m being falsely accused. I want to fight this to the end.” It’s important for me to understand the client’s perspective, where we want the case to go and what I can do to possibly help them get in that direction.

Criminal Defense: A strong lawyer is able to recognize arguments on both sides of the issue, whether it’s the pros versus the cons.

Not everyone will come to you to say, “Defend me. I didn’t do this or I did it but there was no wrong of me in doing this.” In some cases, people will come to you they admit that yes, they did make a mistake. They violated the law and all they want is to reduce the time, correct?

That’s absolutely correct. I’ve worked with so many different types of situations and so many different types of cases. There are some people who say, “I’m not a bad person. I just made a wrong decision or I made the wrong choice. I need help with lowering or reducing the damages both to my short-term and my long-term consequences.” I see that very often because a lot of times people ask me, “How can you defend criminals? How do you sleep at night?” The answer to that is a lot of my clients aren’t criminals. It’s not about whether someone’s a criminal, it’s about whether someone made the wrong choice or if someone wants to mitigate any damages.

The prosecutor’s job is not to necessarily say this person’s a criminal. Their job is to say, “Did this person commit a crime on a particular day?” As you know, everyone’s human. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. One of the most important aspects of my job is to make sure that I don’t pass judgment on anyone. Who am I to cast any stone? My job is to see what I can do within the law. One, to protect my client. Two, to try to get them the best result possible. Three, to try to minimize their damages both the short-term and in the long-term. What I do is I don’t necessarily deal with damages in the sense of money, I deal with people’s liberties, their freedom. That’s something that I take very seriously in my career.

What is the toughest case that you won? How long did it take you? Did you have many sleepless nights because of this case?

I’ve had a number of very serious cases. I’m trying to think back at some of the more memorable ones. I did have a very serious sexual assault case that I defended. I truly believed in my client. Those are the types of cases that are very difficult because there’s a lot of pressure. If the evidence is not overwhelming or if there’s not strong evidence, and if you think about the client’s position and if the client is saying they were falsely accused, that’s a lot of pressure that a lot of defense lawyers will put on themselves. The stakes and the consequences are so high. I defended a case where my client was accused of committing a rape against a female at a college party. This trial lasted about two weeks. My client was African-American. The victim in the case was Caucasian and race did play a factor in our case. The issue was whether my client allegedly sexually assaulted this woman while she was intoxicated to the point of being unconscious.

This trial required a lot of witness testimonies because it was at a party and there were a lot of college students at that party. The prosecutor’s witnesses came in and some of them said that she seemed very out of it. That she wasn’t acting normally. She seemed like she was high on something or that she was under the influence of some drug. They were making those speculations but the problem with that is the complaining witness got tested the following day and there were no drugs in her system. This was based upon the witness’ testimony as to what her demeanor or her symptoms were like. Meanwhile in our client’s defense, we had witnesses who testified that she wasn’t acting like that. She looked intoxicated, but she looked like she knew what she was doing. She’d gone to the bathroom. She was flirting with my client. They were holding hands at some point in the evening. It came down to the point of what the jury believed, which witnesses were credible.

The reason why this case strikes the memory for me was that one of the witnesses made a comment to the police during their interview about how the complaining witness is not attracted to black people. If she was sober, she would never even look at one. That resonated with the jury because it wasn’t a comment about, “She’s not attracted to the defendant. If she was sober, she would never have even looked at him.” It was the generalization of, “She doesn’t like black people. She’s not attracted to them and therefore if she was sober, she wouldn’t even look at one.” Meaning the generalization of black people. That struck a chord with the jury.

Criminal Defense: The prosecutor’s job is not to necessarily say, “This person is a criminal,” but rather, “Did this person commit a crime on a particular day?”

When it came down to it, it was a battle. We were on trial for about a couple of weeks. The jury ended up coming back hung. It was a hung jury. If I remember correctly it was nine in favor of not guilty, three in favor of guilty. It was nine to three or ten to two. It was a huge victory for us because it ended up settling. We ended up resolving the case. Ultimately, my client ended up getting a dismissal but the consequences were very high. If he was convicted, this was a college student, he would be looking at years in prison. It was a very stressful trial, but it was very interesting because it had all the different components of what you see on TV. It’s sexy facts: sexual assault, there was race and then we’re talking about college kids with a bright future ahead of him. I’ll never forget that case. I’m glad that I was able to defend him and to be a part of that trial.

They did have sex but he did not rape her, correct?

Correct. It was a consensual sex.

What do you mean by hung?

A hung jury means that not all twelve of the jurors were convinced. In criminal law, in order for someone to be convicted of a crime, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed a crime. What that means is that if all twelve people on the jury vote guilty, then the person gets convicted. If all twelve people vote not guilty then the defendant gets acquitted. If there is what’s called a hung jury, what that means is that the vote was not unanimous. Not all twelve people in the jury could agree on whether he was guilty or not guilty. When I said hung, I meant it was a situation where not all twelve of the people sitting on the jury could agree. The nine were in favor of not guilty. Then three were in favor of guilty in that particular scenario.

What about the cases you lost? How do you feel when you lose a case?

When I lose a case it’s devastating because I always put my heart and soul in every case that I try. When you think about the effort and the time that you put in for trial, I think of it as an investment. When I put all that time, energy and passion in my cases, if I lose a case it’s hard for me to get over it. Although ultimately, that’s what you have to do. Also because I’m very competitive, I hate to lose. The most important thing for me when I lose cases is to not necessarily just sit there and mope about it, but to learn from my past mistakes. Why did I lose this case? Why did the jury not go in my favor? In a criminal defense lawyer’s perspective, sometimes it’s because the evidence was overwhelming and there’s only so much that I can argue given the evidence in the case. In other respects, I look at sometimes the strategy involved, my theory or what I could have done better. I’ll never forget what one of my mentors told me. He always said, “That’s why they call it the practice of law. Don’t ever feel like you cannot learn any more. Once you start thinking that you know everything and that you don’t need to learn, that’s when you’re in trouble.” Regardless of how much time has passed or how many years of experience I might have, I always look forward to the idea of learning more. That’s how you get better. That’s how you improve and get better in terms of your craft.

What steps would you recommend us to pick the right attorney in case we need one?

This sounds very cliché but at the end of the day, you have to go with your gut instinct. What does your gut tell you about this person? Do you believe this lawyer will fight for you and will go out swinging for you? What I mean by that is that there are a lot of different types of lawyers out there. There are a lot of different types of clients. Ultimately, you have to go with the one that you feel most confident and that you feel that you can communicate the best with, the one that you think will go out fighting for you. It’s also very important before you choose a lawyer to do your research. Read the online reviews. I’m not talking about the reviews where it doesn’t say much about the attorney. You read the reviews that are very detailed about how that attorney handled a case. How that attorney communicated and how responsive that person was.

Once you do your research, you can narrow it down. Then when you meet with the attorney, you can see if you have that rapport with each other or that special type of relationship moving forward. It is a very personal decision. A lot of it has to go that you just have to follow your gut. A funny thing when I’m picking a jury and when I’m deciding whether to kick off a juror or to keep them, there’s a saying that I always adhere to which is, “When in doubt kick them out.” That means you have to go with your gut. You have to go with what your instinct is telling you. I always believe in that, I truly do.

Which websites can people look for the reviews of the attorney that they are interested in hiring? 

Some of the basic websites are all online. For instance, one of them is an Avvo.com. That’s a good website for different types of lawyers in your area. You can always go with Yelp. There’s also Super Lawyers that recognizes the top attorneys in different categories in their respective states. You can also go and Google or Yahoo! You do a search, for instance a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney. You’ll see that there are a lot of Google reviews that pop up too. Utilizing the internet in this modern day and age is what a lot of people rely upon. If you just enter keywords or search terms, then that’s a good way to start. Another way that I value is referrals. If you have a loved one or a family member who may have been in a similar situation, if they refer a certain lawyer based on their experience then that’s ideal. If you’re a loved one or a family member, you’re only going to recommend people that you think are the best or that you think will do good work. Those are the great places to start.

Referral is the best word of mouth marketing, but sometimes in term of criminal defense unless you go through it, you would not know. Somebody who might be your friend or your friend’s friend who is an attorney, you know that person as an attorney not necessarily that person is competent to take on your case. I would follow your recommendation to go with the online and ask for a referral if anybody knows any good lawyer in the area that you are looking for. Also double check with Avvo.comSuper Lawyers, Yahoo! Yelp, Google. Do due diligence in finding the good attorney for your case because it is a big investment in terms of time and money to hire a lawyer. You have two young children four and two. How do you manage work, family and self-care? Do you have time for yourself and time with your spouse without the kids?

Criminal Defense: Look forward to learning more because that’s how you improve and get better in terms of your craft.

It’s very important for mothers to take care of themselves. To not lose your identity after you have children. What’s important is to balance my work life and to try to keep that separate from my personal life. When I’m working, I focus on my work and then when I come home, I try not to get distracted by things that happen at work. I try to check that out the door and focus on the time that I have with my two boys. It’s important for me to not only be the best mom that I can be, the best lawyer that I can be, the best business owner that I can be, the best wife that I can be. At the end of the day, to always try to have time for myself and to enjoy the things that I like to do. For instance, I enjoy working out. I enjoy running, lifting weights or Pilates. I always try to make it a point to make that a priority in my life and balance it even if it means me waking up at 5:30 in the morning to get it done. If I didn’t have that balancing act, then I would be missing an important part of my life. I don’t think I would be happy in that regard. For me, there are so many different moving parts. I pray that I do the best I can, try to survive and try to keep going.

What are the Korean culture or traditions that you want to pass on to your children?

I have a lot of different types of Korean culture that I’d like to pass on to my children. It’s very important for them to recognize their ethnicity and to be proud of it. For instance, my parents when I come to visit, they speak to us in Korean. Although my kids are pretty young in the sense that they don’t speak Korean, they’re starting to understand it some more. By them being exposed to the language, it helps them to understand even at this young age about their grandparents and about their mom. Their father, my husband is a Caucasian. At a young age, they see, “This is a part of me. I have a part of Korean culture in me.” One of the most important things for them is that they love Korean food. Every week it’s, “Let’s go to a Korean restaurant.” My mom is hands-on for being a great grandma for them. She cooks them Korean food all the time when she’s in town. It’s important for them to understand the Korean culture, the Korean language and to develop a palette of enjoying Korean food and Korean cuisine.

Do you feed them kimchi every single meal?

I don’t see feed them kimchi (Korean preserve pickle) every meal, but they’re always asking me about keem (roasted seaweed), which in Korean is roasted seaweed. In Korean, rice is bop (rice). They’ll say, “I want keem and bop.” They definitely ask for different types of Korean food. They do that on a frequent basis. I am very happy with that and I’m happy that they are starting to understand different types of food. Not everything is American food. They understand that difference.

Do you celebrate lunar New Year, Moon Calendar or the Korean New Year?

I don’t celebrate it in my household yet, but I do celebrate it with my parents when I see them or if I happen to be with them. I’ll wish them a happy New Year in the Korean calendar. There’s a Korean tradition that for a Korean New Year you have what’s called rice cakes soup or dukguk (rice soup). I love that. I’ll always eat that, order it or eat it with my parents when I can. I should make it a point to celebrate that.

The culture or tradition that you love is best to share with the children when they’re young, so they get familiar with it and there’s a great story to follow. When they grow up they will say, “Why do we do this?” If you start them young, they will see that’s a part of them. It’s a part of their identity, that’s a part of their culture. What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of so many things. First and foremost, I’m most proud of being a mom. At the end of the day, when I pass, people aren’t going to say, “What a great lawyer she was. How many cases did she try?” I’d like to think that people would remember me as a good mother. I want to pass on best of traditions, culture, morals and my Christian faith. I want to raise my kids to have such strong integrity and to be men with good hearts. When I think about the accomplishments that I’ve had, I’m proud of my business and the reputation that I built along the way because I’ve worked very hard for that. I’m proud of being a good daughter to my parents, a good wife to my husband and a good sister to my best friend, my sister. I’m most proud of being the best mom that I can be and learning how to balance that. Balance all these moving parts at once to try to be as successful as I can be. Not just in the courtroom but in life in general and for people to be inspired and to be motivated by that.

Being an Asian-American woman, being a female minority in my field of work, I am the minority. In criminal defense in the private sector, there are so many men who practice and not many females. For me to have to distinguish myself not just as a female attorney, but as a minority as a Korean-American, I’ve had to overcome a lot of barriers to get to the point where I’m at. I’m very proud of that in the progress that I’ve made and I’m continuing to make that progress.

Most of us have the privilege to be a mom. Being a good mom is something that we should be proud of. To teach the children the value of the family, the value that is important for us but not forcing them to be the same as us because each person has their own journey to go through. What makes you feel at peace?

Criminal Defense: At the end of the day, always try to have time for yourself and to enjoy the things that you like to do.

What makes me feel most at peace is my faith in God. I was raised in a Christian household. My parents both of them, I was raised in the church. The power of prayer and devotion has helped me not just molding me along the way but creating in me a sense of value, a sense of honesty to live an honest life, to be a woman of integrity. What gives me most peace is having my faith in God and the power of prayer. Knowing that I’ve done the best that I possibly can do in my career for my clients, that’s how I am able to sleep at night. When people ask me, “How can you sleep at night knowing some of the crimes that you have to defend or knowing some of the cases that you handle?” A lot of clients will trust in me and put their lives entrusted in me to try to get them the best outcome. Regardless of what the outcome is, if I know that I did the very best that I could for each and every one of my clients, then I know that there’s nothing more that I could have done. I’m truly at peace with that.

It is important especially in your career. At the end of the day, you know that you did the best you could and you leave everything to God because God has the answer. You don’t have the answer. The judge doesn’t have the answer. Nobody has the answer. Have faith and let go of the attachment of the results that you want. How would you define the following words: power, success and fulfill?

Power can be interpreted in so many different ways. If I have to define power, I would define it as having the fulfillment and having the belief in yourself that you can do all things. Power can be so subjective. You think of power as someone who is the highest ranking official or someone who has the final say in certain things, someone who has a lot of money, someone who’s extremely successful. Power is the definition that you put into it. For me, power is having that faith, that confidence in yourself and knowing that you can go above and beyond. You can exceed even your biggest dreams by never giving up and believing in yourself. Power, success and fulfill all combined together send the same message about you having the confidence of reaching your goals. You, being successful in attaining those goals. The third element is being fulfilled, you’ve achieved those goals. No matter how hard it is, no matter how many times you’ve fallen over, you didn’t give up and you kept going. There’s something very powerful about the three things that are combined together to reach that same message.

What’s next for you?

I know that I’ve spoken a lot about criminal defense and what I do in my practice. I have expanded my practice not only to handle criminal defense cases, but I’ve also handled and I’m handling sexual harassment cases, which is very empowering and inspiring for me. In sexual harassment cases in the civil spectrum, I’m representing people who have been either victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment. I love this area of law that I’m in. I’m representing mostly fellow females. When you think about it the #MeToo Movement who have been victims in their workplace of sexual harassment, whether it’s in inappropriate comments, inappropriate touching, and inappropriate behavior. People who get retaliated against, meaning they report sexual harassment and then they get fired. There’s something to be said about that area of the law that women should be proud to showcase their voices and stand up for themselves, especially given the climate that we’re in in the #MeToo Movement. These types of cases that I’m handling in terms of helping fellow females and helping them to have a voice. To stand up for themselves in the sexual harassment context has been truly motivational. It’s been a huge part of my practice as well.

I thought you said that you wanted to be a judge someday. 

That’s also on the horizon too. I haven’t closed down that door in the sense that I would love in the future to consider that option of possibly becoming a judge. I’m very happy with being an advocate and being a lawyer in this adversarial process and having my business. The sky’s the limit and it’s so important to have those goals whether it’s short-term or long-term. Eventually, I love to seek that opportunity of potentially at some point in my future career to become a judge.

Please share with us three tips from the lessons that you have learned in your life.

Criminal Defense: Women should be proud to showcase their voices and stand up for themselves, especially right now given the climate that we’re in and the Me Too Movement.

The first tip is to never give up. If there’s one thing that both my mom and my dad have taught me, if someone else can do it why can’t you? That’s always been a representation given to me to encourage me and to show someone else can do it, you can do it better. In this lifetime, there are going to be ups and downs. It’s not always going to be perfect. There are going to be troubled times and there are going to be great times. The true testament is not whether you’re going to face problems because you will. It’s how do you address these problems and how do you learn from them. The first tip I’d like to give is to never give up on yourself. Never give up on your dreams or your aspirations.

The second tip is don’t pigeonhole yourself into a certain stereotype or generalization. For instance, as a Korean-American, as a woman, I’ve heard time and time again, “Don’t go into criminal defense. You’re going to be competing with Caucasian men who are going to have an advantage on you.” I’ve heard things like that and I never believed in them. I thought to myself, “I can do this. I have faith. I’m not going to let that stereotype or that generalization get in my way.” If you believe it and if you doubt yourself and so are others. If you’re not going to believe in yourself then who is? The second tip is to not abide by or not to believe the stereotypes or the generalizations that are out there. Make your own path based upon the faith and confidence that you have in yourself.

The third tip that I have is always be humble. If you start getting successful, if you’re a lawyer for instance, if you start winning cases, if you start getting certain accolades or awards, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. I’ve always been a big proponent of being humble. Stay true to yourself and don’t become arrogant, don’t become egotistical. Know that if you remain humble in what you do, you’ll always have perspective. That goes a long way. That’s the third tip that I believe in. That’s one of my pet peeves when I come across someone who’s arrogant, it’s to stay true and stay humble to the core.

Thank you for those gifts. If our audience wants to learn more about you, where should they go?

I have my own website, www.AnnaYumLaw.com. I do some TV commentary sometimes as a legal analyst. If they wanted to see me, I have a YouTube channel that you can look up my name on YouTube and you can see some of the stories that I’ve covered or I’ve commented on whether it’s on FOX News or HLN. Then you can also do your research. If you Google my name, you’ll see some research about Super Lawyers or Avvo.com. It’s just a lot of information online. To see more information about me and my biography, my results, then it would be on my website.

I checked your website out and I said, “So much accomplishment.” It’s incredible. I know that if I need a lawyer, most likely I will hire you. I’m very proud of your accomplishments so far. I wish you the best in the future.

Thank you very much. It’s been such a pleasure. I’m truly honored to be a guest on your podcast. I appreciate it very much.

For our audience, what is your number one takeaway in this interview? Let us know in the comment area. When you are ready to participate in the discussion, please go to www.JoinAsianWomenOfPower.com. Until next time, live life loud.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Quotes 

 "Be a voice advocate for people who can't defend for themselves."

"Who am I to cast any stone?"

"I deal with people's liberty."

"Women should not lose their identity after being a mom."

"Don't pigeon-hole yourself because of your background."

"Make your own path." 

About Anna Yum

Anna Yum is a premier criminal defense and DUI attorney in San Diego. Ms. Yum is licensed to practice in state and federal court in both the Southern and Central Districts of California. She is also licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois.

Ms. Yum has successfully represented clients on charges ranging from serious and/or violent offenses such as rape/sexual assault, child molest, murder, attempted murder, “criminal street gang” cases, robbery, felony offenses with firearm enhancements, domestic violence with great bodily injury enhancements, etc. to lower-level offenses including driving under the influence, theft-related offenses, narcotics cases, probation violations, and much more.

Ms. Yum has successfully tried a multitude of jury and bench trials to verdict. Many of her high-profile cases have been recognized and highlighted by the media. Ms. Yum is also regularly called upon and trusted by Fox News, HLN/CNN, Discover ID, KUSI, Fox 5, and many more to provide legal commentary for the top headline cases.

Awards and Accolades:

  • Super Lawyers 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Super Lawyers Rising Star 2015- which recognizes no more than the top 2.5% attorneys under 40 in the state of California
  • The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • Avvo.com Client’s Choice Award in 2013-2018
  • Avvo.com rating of 10.0 out of 10.0 as a Top Attorney practicing Criminal Defense based upon client reviews and peer endorsements
  • American Society of Legal Advocates 2015 Top 40 Criminal Defense Lawyers Under 40 in the State of California
  • 2011 San Diego Metro Magazine Top DUI Attorneys in San Diego
  • Finalist for 2011 San Diego Daily Transcript Top Young Attorneys.

Website: www.annayumlaw.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sandiegolawyers
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annayum

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