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Julius Chen

A Step Ahead

By Mary Johnson

Winter 2009

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The product of a Southern California upbringing, Julius Chen ’09 wears flip-flops everywhere, regardless of wind, rain, or snow. During his first year at Columbia Law School, Chen’s footwear became his signature. “I was known as the guy who always wears sandals,” he recalls.

Almost three years later, he is recognized for much more than his exposed toes.

Chen, a first-generation American born to a mother from Hong Kong and a father from Taiwan, became the editor-in-chief of the Columbia Law Review last February. He manages a staff of 84 law students and scours submissions for compelling copy. Sometimes the job requires slim, 36-hour editing deadlines. Other times it demands 2 a.m. wiffle ball breaks in the Law Review offices. “It’s not only that we enjoy being there,” Chen is quick to point out. “It’s also the thought that we’re helping to push the bounds of legal scholarship.”

Prior to taking the helm at the Law Review, Chen did two stints at the Southern

District of New York. In 2007, he worked in the civil division of the district’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, and last spring, he was a law student intern for Southern District Judge John G. Koeltl.

Following his Law School graduation, and his wedding in August, Chen will move to Washington, D.C., to clerk for Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Unfortunately, the real world requires real shoes. And that means Chen might soon bid his omnipresent flip-flops farewell.

Photographed by Erin O'Brien

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