Meet KJ — Corp & Operation Legal
Nice to meet you KJ. Would you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I am KJ from the Corporate & Operation Legal team. Since joining Coupang in June 2021, I have been in charge of conducting legal reviews on corporate operations, including matters related to public disclosures required by the Fair-Trade Commission and other issues regarding the Coupang Business Group.
What experiences did you have before joining Coupang?
I started my career as a lawyer at a law firm in 2011 and worked there for 11 years. My main responsibility was handling corporate litigations regarding fair trade and customs and advising retailers. After I returned to Korea from my studies in the U.S., I began to contemplate on how I can leverage my area of expertise as an attorney. After some thought, I decided to join Coupang’s Legal team as I wanted an opportunity to offer more concrete and substantial legal advice that could not come from an outside counsel who has limited visibility.
What is the main role of your team at Coupang, what kind of projects do you work on?
For the Corporate & Operation Legal team, we review overall legal regulations and contracts with regards to operation of the company and provide support to enable smooth execution of business initiatives. My team collaborates with various other teams at Coupang (other teams within Legal function, Logistics, PR, Policy, etc.) to work on legal matters so that we can devise and secure the best solution under the relevant laws, which includes reviewing new business opportunities.
What makes Coupang special in your opinion?
As a working mom with a three-year-old, I am only half-joking when I say my mom takes the 80% of the credit for raising my child and the 20% goes to Coupang. As a customer, I can say with confidence that Coupang is an innovative company that delivers an outstanding e-commerce experience. It’s so unique that you can hardly experience the same in other parts of the world.
And I would say the same thing about my experience as an employee at Coupang. What surprised me the most when I first joined Coupang was its diversity. Coupang’s diverse workplace was beyond my expectation — not only the diversity of employees’ backgrounds and ethnicities but also the composition of teams and functions. It was impressive to see how Coupang employees come to work together to win customers’ trust and move things forward so quickly. I believe this teamwork as a company enabled the rapid growth of Coupang. Coupang is a great place to learn and develop one’s career.
What is it like to be a female lawyer in the Legal team at Coupang?
We are a team with an equal gender mix. The male-female ratio is almost 1-to-1. There are also many female lawyers in other sub-legal teams that do great work. I remember receiving a lot of help from other female colleagues in different teams when I first joined Coupang.
I also had something to celebrate personally after joining Coupang — I became pregnant. It is challenging for female lawyers to become a mother and raise a child while working in the professional sphere. Since work and family are both valuable parts of my life, I thought a lot before ma to move to Coupang. Fortunately, it was a great decision and I’ve never experienced any discomfort or unfairness for being a female attorney.
I think when it comes to work, it is most important to be engaged and passionate while remaining consistent and sustainable. So far, it has been very exciting to work together with a lot of different people at Coupang and learn new areas as part of my work.
What kind of profile are you looking for to join your team?
An in-house legal counsel must be an advisor and a troubleshooter that can solve problems and make decisions as a member of a company. A simple “no” may not be the right answer to situations with potential legal risks. You have to dive deep and see if the situation is really impossible or not. If you feel like you’ve hit a wall, you should find an alternative route. If you're a person that can think beyond simple legal perspective and see things from a company-wide perspective, we welcome you to join our team.
Any advice to the next-generation female leaders in the legal industry?
My advice is “It’s okay to take things one step at a time.” There once was a time when I also was busy and restless to deliver short-term results fast. However, consistency and persistency will make you realize that all the work transformed into valuable experiences and strong assets. I extend my warmest regards and support to all future female leaders out there who are thinking hard and doing their best each and every day.