Christina Luk ’21 Reaches Top of the Masthead
Third-year law student Christina Luk was drawn to the University of Virginia School of Law because of how the student newspaper chronicled life on North Grounds. Now she’s the paper’s top editor.
Luk is the daughter of Chinese immigrants and a first-generation college student. At UVA Law, she is editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Weekly, a 3L senator and Diversity Advisory Council co-chair with the Student Bar Association, a Peer Advisor and a member of the Virginia Journal of International Law. Last year, she was co-president of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association.
The San Leandro, California, native earned a B.A. in English and East Asian studies from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.A. in humanities from the University of Chicago, where she won the award for best master’s thesis in British studies from the Nicholson Center for British Studies.
In our occasional series “Star Witness,” Luk discussed her path to law school, her work with the Virginia Law Weekly and how making wontons gives her a sense of community.
Tell us something about your life before law school.
Some of my favorite experiences before law school include my academic exchanges to Oxford, England, and Tokyo, Japan, where I studied English literature and Japanese language, respectively. I really enjoyed the challenges of adapting to life in a foreign country and the chance to engage with different cultures. Over the course of my time abroad, I improved my language skills and made some really meaningful friendships. Whether meeting someone abroad or domestically, I always try to understand the other person’s perspective and that ability to empathize has helped me make long-lasting connections. We learn so much from people who are different from us and diversity of thought strengthens our ability to communicate and work together as global citizens in this modern world.
Why law school?
My mom always said I’d be an attorney, possibly because my dad named me after a personal injury lawyer he saw on TV the day I was born. Personally, though, I picked law school because I want to become someone who empowers others and helps them achieve their goals. I was really inspired by a lawyer I met during my work with a real estate development firm before coming to law school. This attorney, on top of being incredibly smart and capable, had an amazing talent for explaining complex legal problems in an accessible way. The way he counseled our team helped us make decisions with more confidence and succeed in our projects. I really aspire to his example.
Did you know you wanted to be involved in the student newspaper heading into law school?
Yes! I started reading the Law Weekly before I was even admitted, and it was actually one of the big reasons I decided to come to UVA. The paper is so lively, humorous and genuine, I thought that the community must be as well — and I was right! I joined the paper at the beginning of 1L year, and I’ve been editing and writing for it ever since. Since my first weeks on the paper, I have been involved in interviewing students at the Law School for our “Hot Bench” column. I’ve gotten to meet many of my spectacular peers this way, and the column has been a great way for students to learn more about one another. The paper also does professor interviews, which I like because we get to see a different side of professors, who often have amazing hidden talents and stories. We’re really lucky to have professors who love to engage with students and share funny stories with the paper!
The Law Weekly is an important platform for all members of our community. In addition to our excellent event coverage and many fun columns, we’ve also published welcomes, farewells, thank-you’s and even petitions for change at the Law School. It’s important to me as EIC that the paper gives students, professors, and staff a place for self-expression. The Law Weekly documents our history, celebrates our triumphs, pokes fun at our mistakes, and helps us grow together as a community. I think it’s because of our community-centered approach and world-class humor that we’ve won the ABA Best Law School Newspaper award three years in a row. (And we’re gunning for a fourth!) Getting to work with the talented writers and editors on the Law Weekly staff has been the highlight of my law school career.
What’s something your classmates don’t know about you?
I really like to cook and my favorite thing to make is wontons. At home, making wontons is a family activity. First, we prepare a big bowl of filling, usually pork and shepherd’s purse [a plant in the mustard family], and then we sit around the kitchen table to fold wontons and talk about life. I learned many stories about my family this way. For instance, my grandmother used to shoot rifles competitively, and she was one of the best marksmen in Shanghai. She was so good, she never had to buy her own bullets because she kept winning them at competitions! Sometimes, when I miss my family, I get my friends together to make wontons and we trade stories too. Making wontons is more than cooking, it’s a way to bond and share and laugh — and that’s why they’re my favorite.
Where are you working this summer?
I’ll be working (virtually) at Mayer Brown in Washington, D.C.
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.