Alumni Profile: Kathryn Doi '85
When Kathryn Doi '85, a partner in the Healthcare Law Practice Team of Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld in Sacramento, returns to UC Davis School of Law to speak with students, she often passes on some advice first given to her as a King Hall student by then-Professor Floyd D. Shimomura '73.
"He said, ‘Life is a constant job interview, because you never know when the contacts you're making today might lead to opportunities down the road,'" said Doi.
Doi, who has more than 20 years of experience as an attorney in both public and private sector roles, said that she has benefitted from Shimomura's advice often over the course of her career and has been pleased to be able to pass it along to current students on the frequent occasions when she has returned to King Hall as a speaker.
"I've always felt it was important to give back, and it's nice to feel like I have something to offer students that might help them on their career path," she said. "I feel a debt of gratitude to King Hall because my education has led to what has been an extremely rewarding career experience for the past 25 years."
The daughter of UC Davis science professors Roy Doi and Joyce Takahashi, Kathryn Doi "rebelled" by attending Stanford University as an undergraduate. Between her junior and senior years, she interned for U.S. Rep. Norman Mineta, working for the Public Works and Transportation Committee, where she observed lawyers working as legislators, staff, and lobbyists, and realized that being a lawyer "didn't necessarily mean being Perry Mason and going to court all the time."
"I learned that the law was really the foundation for how our society operates, and that the law was a tool that could be used to impact policy," she said. "That's why I decided to go to law school."
Knowing of her interest in government and public policy, an adviser at Stanford recommended King Hall. Doi enrolled, and it turned out to be "a perfect fit." Doi enjoyed the supportive and collaborative atmosphere and outstanding faculty, and she excelled, earning Order of the Coif honors and the American Jurisprudence Award in Contracts. She also served as President of the Asian Law Students Association and Articles Editor for the UC Davis Law Review.
Doi finished in the top 10 percent of her class, an achievement that led to a clerkship with the Honorable Jane A. Restani '73 of the Court of International Trade in New York, then a position with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. She continued to look for new challenges and public service opportunities, a search that led to positions as California's Senior Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary in the Office of the Governor and Counsel to the Secretary of the Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency.
"One thing I love about practicing law is that it's the kind of profession that no matter how long you do it, you can always get better at it," she said. "You can always find new challenges and continue to experience professional growth, and that's something that I need in my career."
Doi joined Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld in 2007. "I really enjoy my current practice representing health care providers," she said. "I'm able to meld my private practice with the knowledge and experience I gained in government, helping to shape laws and regulations from a private sector perspective."
A former president of the UC Davis School of Law Alumni Association, Doi continues to volunteer at King Hall and in the community. She has been a generous supporter of the Law School, and frequently has returned to King Hall to speak with students, both informally and in events such as the King Hall Outreach Program "Lunch with a Legend," in which she was a featured speaker in 2009.
Doi is eagerly anticipating the Class of 1985 reunion, scheduled for October 16 in the newly expanded King Hall. "This is a great opportunity for members of our class to reconnect with each other and also with the Law School and the faculty that made so many things possible for us," she said.
"I am really excited with the direction the Law School is taking and has taken," added Doi. "I love the fact that the faculty is so diverse - I believe we have the highest number of Asian-Pacific Islander faculty of any law school. I think Dean Kevin Johnson has a great vision for the school and has really done a lot to continue to raise the profile of King Hall. I'm really happy that the Law School is expanding its physical space and I'm looking forward to seeing the progress."