Alumni Highlight

Kenji Yamada

Kenji Yamada
Class of 2011
Legal Professional Interest Group Leader

During my time at Soka University of America (SUA), I was fortunate enough to receive an education filled with many global experiences. I participated in a learning cluster in Beijing, learned Japanese and studied abroad in Tokyo, represented the university in a Model United Nations conference in Milan, and made friends from around the world. Not to mention, as a New Zealander living in the United States, attending university in a foreign country was itself a new and exciting experience.

Upon graduating from SUA in 2011, I went to Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland to study a Master of Arts in Translation. Although the course was challenging, I had a blast during my time in Belfast. The rich musical and lyrical culture, the pints of Guinness, and the wicked sense of humor of the Irish more than made up for Belfast’s wet weather.

After completing my degree at Queen’s University, I traveled to São Paulo, Brazil to teach English, explore a new culture, and take some time to reflect upon my next steps. During my time in Brazil, I was captivated by its vibrant culture and blown away by the warmth of its people. At the same time, it was confronting living in a place rife with poverty and inequality. Reflecting upon all the educational opportunities I had been afforded, solidified within me a desire to somehow use my education in the service of others.

It was this desire that lead me to law school. In 2014, I started a law degree at Melbourne Law School in Australia. Law school was one of the most challenging things I have ever done and there were times when I wasn't sure if I had chosen the right path. It was not until taking a subject on legal technology that I discovered a new and exciting avenue to apply my legal training.

While I finished my studies, I worked part-time for a legal tech company called Neota Logic. And after graduating, I moved to a full-time role at the same company as the Head of Education and Community Programs in the Asia-Pacific region. Currently, my job involves facilitating courses with law schools where students learn how to build web-based applications for not-for-profit organizations. These legal applications are designed to provide tailored-legal information and to help empower individuals who would otherwise have no access to relevant legal information or legal services.

For the last few years now, I have called Melbourne home. But, like many SUA alumni, having lived in other parts of the world, I feel that the word ‘home’ is now a much broader concept. Remarkably, at SUA, such experiences are not out of the ordinary. Rather the global nature of the university means this is common place. My time at SUA had a profound impact upon my life, opening up new possibilities and avenues I never would have imagined.