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3L Richard Bradley Ng: From Pre-Med Doubts to 'Courtroom Dreams'

published February 11, 2008

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<<Ng, who normally goes by a shortened version of his middle name, "Brad," grew up in Oakley, California. He comes from quite a cultural background, with a diverse heritage that includes Chinese, Italian, German, Scottish, Irish, and French. He's quick to assert, though, that he's "100% American, born and raised."

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Adamantly stating that he has had the "good fortune" to be deemed a UCLA Bruin, Ng graduated from the University of California — Los Angeles in 2005. He received his B.A. in history and political science.

Now in his final year at the University of California — Hastings College of the Law, 24-year-old Ng says that he chose the school for various reasons. Aside from its reputation and affordability, he was thankful for its location. Going to school in San Francisco allowed Ng to make use of the proximity to his family.

"My younger brother was entering his senior year in high school, and I had always missed his football games while I was in college at UCLA," he explains. "It was nice being able to spend his senior year (my 1L year) close to home, where I got to watch him play."

Admitting that aspects of the law are "boring," Ng has respect for it as a whole.

"[What I enjoy most about law is] that there are no answers," he says. "We like to say there's some black letter law, but for the most part lawyers (and especially law students) can always make an argument on any issue. That aspect, the competitiveness, keeps it interesting."

So it's no wonder that he deems his Criminal Procedure and Federal Criminal Law classes two of his favorites. His career goals also fall in line with his interests.

"Although I came to law school wanting to be a prosecutor, it really didn't hit home until the first time I appeared in federal court during my first summer at the U.S. Attorney's Office. I stood before the court, said my name, and then 'on behalf of the United States.' That's when I knew I wanted to be a prosecutor," Ng recalls. "It was an honor to represent my government, my country, and my fellow Americans in court. Every single time I've gone to court since and represented the United States or the people of California, I get this very special sense of contentment and purpose. Not a lot of people find work this fulfilling. I count myself among the very fortunate."

Ng spent one summer working at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California. He worked in the tax division, where he stayed through his second year. He then traveled to Sacramento and worked at the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office this past summer. Aside from being a teaching assistant for 1L Legal Writing and Research and Moot Court, Ng is now back at the U.S. Attorney's Office, externing in another division.

"When I came back to the U.S. Attorney's Office, being assigned to Organized Crime gave me a chance to work on research for very experienced prosecutors and work on very complex and important cases," he says. "Not only am I being given the chance to work on human trafficking cases, RICO prosecutions, and federal death penalty cases, I'm again getting to do meaningful work, in service of the United States, all while gaining valuable real-world experience."

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Ng hopes to continue his law career in the prosecution sector. He's excited about his future but says that when he is ready to leave the law field, he will go back to his hometown roots.

"When it's all over, though, and time for me to retire, I'd like to go back home, put my B.A. to work, and teach high school history in my hometown," he says.
Q. What do you do for fun?
A. Hang out with my girlfriend, play a little basketball, kick it with friends, play a little PS3, or read Orwell or Huxley whenever I can find something they wrote I haven't read.
Q. What CD is in your CD player right now, or what is the last song you heard?
A. The last song I heard? "Noots" by Sum 41.
Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. If I'm reading something in print rather than online, it tends to be either Time or Newsweek.
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. Although it is in no way accurate and often frustratingly wrong on the law, I can't stop watching Law & Order. It's the inner prosecutor in me. I guess I just love seeing the bad guy get his (or her) due.
Q. Who is your role model?
A. My parents, which I know is kind of cliché. But they're my role models for all the cliché reasons. As for people other than my parents, there's really three: my younger brother Andrew, now a West Point cadet (and a too-soon-to-be Army Second Lieutenant), for serving his country in a time where war is not some remote possibility but is very real; Jackie Robinson, who, aside from being a Bruin, showed the world that heart, hustle, determination, and love of the game was color-blind; and last but not least, Douglas Bader. Now, this is a guy who lost both of his legs in a flying accident. When his country was faced with imminent invasion by Nazi Germany in 1940, before America decided to join the war effort, he climbed back into a cockpit and flew with prosthetic legs to help save Britain. And he did so successfully, becoming one of the most feared British fighter pilots. If that's not an example of courage and dedication to freedom, I don't know what is.
Q. What is something most people don't know about you?
A. What the seemingly random letters and numbers at the end of my screen name mean. It's the name of the main character in Yevgeny Zamyatin's book We, which in turn inspired Huxley to write Brave New World and Orwell to write 1984.

As for graduating, Ng says that he is approaching his final months at UC Hastings if things go as planned.

"Well, as long as I don't totally tank it this semester, I'll be graduating this upcoming May 2008," he says.

The advice Ng offers to his peers is to make friends because they will be needed to get "through those horrible stretches of pre-finals studying." He also says law students shouldn't allow the cynics to get them down.

"Don't ever doubt your own ability. Don't ever let someone tell you that you can't get the job you dream of," he says. "People in law school are hyper-competitive and put a lot of stock into grades. Don't fall for that crap."

Ng says that dignity in law is also essential.

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"Most importantly, to paraphrase Justice Souter, remember that, no matter what court you're in, what you do affects very real people," he emphasizes. "Use every bit of talent you have, every part of your intelligence, and, most importantly, your heart to make sure you do justice."

published February 11, 2008

( 70 votes, average: 4.7 out of 5)
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