Jeannie Rhee
Jeannie Rhee
Partner, WilmerHale

What You’d Be Surprised to Know about Me

I was a high school cheerleader.

Who Inspires Me

Like many immigrants, my parents. My mother came to this country as a young mother, without speaking a word of English. Despite that, she enrolled me in school, made sure I learned English before she did and, notwithstanding an inability to help me make my way through school, was proud of my every accomplishment along the way.

The Model Minority Myth

As an Asian-American woman, I am often not expected to be a fierce litigator. It takes that extra effort on my part,when I meet with clients face-to-face, to have them see me in action to convey how my ethnicity, gender, stature, and the like do not at all prevent me from being a formidable advocate.

Our Most Critical Issue

As a small community relative to other minority communities, the challenge is to organize, vocalize, and leverage our relative strengths in order to make an impact on issues that matter, such as immigration, education, and voting rights.

Lessons I’ve Learned

You have to be comfortable in your own skin. I remember being told as a baby AUSA (Assistant United States Attorney) to stand, dress, and deliver myopenings and closings in a certain way. But that way wasn’t true to my own style, my own strengths, and my fundamental personality. It took time for me to develop enough self-confidence to take advice, but to tailor it to suit me.

My Best Career Advice

Do not plan your retirement before you’ve even started your career. The path of one’s career is often crooked, and wonderfully so. If you keep your head down all the time to make sure you’re still on your predetermined path, you often fail to see the unexpected opportunities right in front of you. The people you work with and the satisfaction you get from working with a good team—if you are open enough to appreciate it in the moment—can lead to new and fulfilling career options that you never previously considered.