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Alexis Kim ’15, an associate at the international law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, recently won a pro bono criminal appeal before the First Judicial Department Appellate Term in New York City, making it two successful pro bono criminal appeals in as many years since joining Milbank.
The latest was a search-and-seizure case involving a client who in 2014 was forcibly stopped on suspicion of burglary, and subsequently surrendered an illegal gravity knife to the police. The client pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon after a lower court denied a motion to suppress the gravity knife. Kim successfully argued on appeal that her client’s behavior did not meet the “reasonable suspicion” threshold necessary for a forcible stop, and therefore the knife was “fruit of the poisonous tree.”
The appellate court agreed that the knife should have been suppressed. It reversed the conviction, writing in its opinion, “The fact that defendant exited a building with a duffel bag in an alleged high-crime area does not constitute a factor sufficient to create reasonable suspicion that he was committing a burglary.”
“I’m always impressed by how well the panel of judges prepare and ask questions during oral argument—it’s an invaluable experience for me as a litigator, and of course it’s gratifying to see justice served for our client. Hopefully this decision helps clarify the boundaries of permissible police encounters under New York law,” Kim said, according to Milbank’s website.
Read more about the case here.
Kim graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University and
summa cum laude from Albany Law School. At Albany Law, she was Executive Editor of Note and Comment for the
Albany Law Review and was a Dean Thomas Sponsler Fellow.
“There is no mistake that my professors at Albany Law have helped shape my career. They armed me with the necessary foundation to take on these appeals, as well as with the confidence to take on new matters at Milbank,” Kim said. “Working at Milbank has been the most exciting time of my life so far, and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Albany Law.”
Milbank has offices in Manhattan, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Sao Paolo, London, Frankfurt, Munich, Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Seoul. Kim is a member of the firm’s Litigation & Arbitration Group and works out of its New York headquarters.