The Honorable Young B. Kim
School of Law
The Honorable Young B. Kim
United States Magistrate Judge, Northern District of Illinois
Young B. Kim (JD ’91) was born in South Korea and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 11 years old. They initially settled in Chicago in 1977 before moving to Niles, where he was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college. He became a U.S. citizen during his junior year in college, taking his oath of citizenship in the same courtroom where he now administers the oath to new citizens.
Judge Kim began his legal career in 1991 as an assistant public defender for the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. He then served as a law clerk for U.S. District Court for Judge Charles R. Norgle, during which time he became interested in the behind-the-scenes aspect of the bench and first thought about becoming a judge.
In 1995, Judge Kim joined the U.S. States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, where he prosecuted both civil and criminal matters. In 2001, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission appointed Judge Kim to serve as a federal administrative judge. He became the first Korean American to serve as a judge in the State of Illinois.
Nine years later, in January 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois appointed him to serve as a United States magistrate judge, where he presides over most phases of federal proceedings. He is the first Asian American to join the federal bench in the Seventh Circuit, which comprises Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana, and only the fourth Korean American to serve as a federal judge in U.S. history.
In 1993, Judge Kim was one of the founding members of the Chicago Chapter of the Korean American Bar Association (KABA), which serves the community by hosting professional, educational, community and social events. In 2000, he co-founded the monthly Pro Bono Legal Clinic run by KABA and the Korean American Community Services where he served as a clinic volunteer for nine years.
Judge Kim has been honored with many professional awards, including the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Best Lawyers Under 40 Award in 2004, the Chicago Bar Association’s Distinguished Public Service Award in 2007, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Community Service Award in 2009, the Korean American Association of Chicago’s Korean American of the Year Award in 2011, and the 2012 Vanguard Award from the Asian American Bar Association.
Judge Kim and his wife of 27 years, Cathy (JD ’91)—who also earned a law degree at Loyola—have two children.