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Jessika Wong is a May 2014 graduate of Brooklyn Law School. She is interested in several different areas of the law including tax, corporate, compliance, and non-profit law, with plans to focus on practicing international law. Jessika plans on taking the New York and New Jersey State Bar in July 2014.
She was born and raised in Long Island, New York.Jessika grew up with her mother, father, and younger brother. "I thank my family for providing encouragement and support through my law school years."
Jessika graduated with a B.A. in Science, Technology, and Society and minored in Economics (Public Policy) from Vassar College in May 2008. From 2004 to 2006, she was a member of the women's varsity swimming team. During her sophomore year, Jessika served as secretary for the Class of 2008. During her junior year, she was elected president of the Class of 2008 and was also a member of the Summer Internship Grant Fund Steering Committee. In her senior year, Jessika served as Vice President for Finance for the Vassar Student Association from July 2007 to May 2008. In that role, she managed a $650,000 budget and $350,000 endowment for over 110 student organizations. Additionally, Jessika approved all requests for funding and set the annual budget for the next fiscal year.
Jessika spent her summers interning for various organizations, including volunteering at New York Downtown Hospital, interning for a fashion PR firm in Chelsea and interning at a commercial law firm in Hong Kong.
At Brooklyn Law School, she served as treasurer of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. From 2012 to 2013, Jessika served as a West law Student Representative. She also served as co-chair for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program from 2013 to 2014. Jessika is the recipient of a centennial grant, an academic achievement scholarship, and the Bronze Level Public Service Award, which recognizes her for volunteering 200 hours. After earning a Global Justice Fellowship in 2013, she interned in Hong Kong. Jessika also published "Tax Practice in Beijing: A Law Student's Perspective," which was featured in the International Law Society of Brooklyn Law School in March 2013 (the publication can be viewed online at http://ilsthebridge.blogspot.com/)
From May 2012 to June 2012, Jessika was a summer law clerk at Baker & McKenzie in Beijing, China where she researched recently promulgated PRC tax regulations.. Jessika also edited monthly tax newsletters for online publication and client distribution covering topics such as exemptions from taxation and reporting requirements for resident enterprises, wholly foreign owned enterprises, representative offices, and permanent establishments. She noted, "Other than learning how to live in a foreign country where my language abilities were limited, I was able to learn a lot about the comparative law and the legal system of the People's Republic of China."
During the fall of 2012, Jessika was a judicial intern for the Honorable Doris Ling-Cohan in the New York State Supreme Court (civil branch). She researched and drafted proposed decisions in civil cases on motions for summary judgment, to dismiss, strike, or compel disclosure. Jessika was able to conduct preliminary conferences and interacted with attorneys. In addition to the legal experience, she was encouraged to partake in local bar associations as well as community groups.
From January 2013 to May 2013, Jessika served as an international tax intern for New York's Kering, a global luxury company who owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Puma, Volcom and many others. She contributed to business and tax planning on e-commerce, IP transfers, and corporate reorganizations. Her internship was focused on transfer pricing and she analyzed and documented the inter company sale of goods, services, royalties and interest. She also engaged in audit defense meetings and risk analysis, assisted in determining a defense plan, and drafted correspondence to both authorities and senior management.
In July 2013, Jessika served as a summer intern for Squire Sanders in Hong Kong. She assisted with US and regional tax planning for international clients and US inbound and outbound investments. Jessika also researched competition law, intellectual property, and employment law matters. She also prepared a presentation on the UK Bribery Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act relating to the Asia-Pacific region.
From October 2013 to November 2013, Jessika served as a corporate tax intern for the American International Group in New York. She supported the Tax Controversy Group by researching federal tax issues and reviewing cost analysis studies. Jessika also drafted tax adjustment memoranda and prepared disclosure statements and supporting documentation to the IRS.
During the spring of 2014, she served as a clinic intern for Brooklyn Law School's Community Development Clinic. Jessika counseled community organizations on incorporation, nonprofit status, and re-zoning matters.
She currently is a member of the Asian American Bar Association of New York as well as the American Bar Association.
When Jessika isn't working, she enjoys jogging, swimming, tennis, yoga, and cardio kick-boxing. She acknowledged, "I'm a foodie who enjoys writing reviews for restaurants and this is my second year as a member of Yelp Elite." Jessika is a frequent visitor of New York's Mas Farmhouse.
Jessika's Academic Law Career and Future Aspirations
Why did Jessika go into the law? "I took a few pre-law classes as an undergraduate and really enjoyed them." She shared her aims and aspirations. "I hope to be able to work abroad in Asia after law school."
When asked about her key accomplishments, Jessika stated, "I am really proud of participating in the VITA program for the past two tax seasons. We had over 15 volunteers this year pass the IRS certification exam. The program provided me the opportunity to further develop my interviewing and counseling skills, and also helped me make a difference to low-income individuals in the Brooklyn Community."
She then discussed the key skills and strengths that she will use to further her career goals. "I am a people person and I thrive on making new contacts and I look forward to continually networking. I am also detailed oriented and hardworking, which will help me in whichever field of law I end up in."
As for her weakness, Jessika admitted, "Although I speak Cantonese, I would like to work on my language skills, specifically to improve my Mandarin skills."
Law school can be stressful at times, so Jessika shared how she relieves stress. "I work out. I also spend time with my friends outside of law school."
How does she handle new assignments? "By looking at past assignments and trying to improve and build upon them. Also, by using the skills and techniques that I've learned in law school as well as in my internship experiences."
Where does Jessika derive her confidence? "From my family."
Coping with Fear, Family Matters and Most Influential Traveling Experience
In regard to handling fear, Jessika said, "I deal with my fears by working out."
What is her top priority outside of work?"Spending time with my family."
Does Jessika have a most influential traveling experience? "I spent this past summer in Hong Kong and was able to spend a week in Vietnam. It was a life-changing traveling experience." She continued to explain that her trip had an influence on her because she had the opportunity to see another part of the world where the legal system is not as developed as the United States' legal system. Jessika also had the opportunity to examine comparative law between three different countries (the U.S., Scotland/Europe, and China).
People You Want to Surround Yourself With, Legal Role Models and Personal Philosophy
What kind of situations and people is Jessika attracted to and what kind does she avoid? "I'm attracted to diversity and love meeting and interacting with people from different places, with different life experiences, different goals in life and different ideas." As for situations and people to avoid, she asserted, "I try to avoid boring situations."
Does Jessika have any legal role models? "My legal role model is the Honorable Doris Ling-Cohan."
What is her personal philosophy? She cited Henry Van Dyke's quote: "Some succeed because they are destined to, but most succeed because they are determined to." Jessika said the quote resonated with her because it reminds her that working hard and being persistent leads to success more than anything else.
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