Alumnus of the Month

Q&A with Kevin Tu '06

Law professor by day and aspiring sports photographer and self-described “foodie” by night, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law Kevin Tu ’06 has accomplished much in the six years since graduating from UW Law.

Tu graduated from the UW with an undergraduate degree in Business Administration before attending UW Law. While he started law school with open mind toward various areas of law, he had a strong interest in business and corporate law. Yet after dabbling in everything from Appellate Advocacy to International Contracting, he found all his favorite courses shared a common element – they were all related to business.

After graduating from UW Law, Tu began his legal career as an associate in the Business Transactions and Financial Services practice groups at the Seattle office of Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP. Tu said he feels fortunate to have had the privilege of learning how to be a transactional attorney from some of the very best. At the firm, Tu plunged into various facets of business law, including mergers and acquisitions, commercial lending work, and technology-related commercial transactions. He soon became more involved in providing regulatory advice to financial institutions, which he found appealing because it is a rapidly changing area of law, driven by advances in technology, new regulation and constantly fluctuating market conditions.

Tu’s next career move was a transition to academia. Tu was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Oregon School of Law and a part-time lecturer at UW Law in 2011, before taking his current position at the University of New Mexico School of Law. Tu teaches business and commercial law courses, including Contracts, Commercial Law, Private Equity & Venture Capital, Regulation of Banking, Secured Land Transactions, Secured Transactions and Business Associations.

Outside of the law, Tu enjoys photography and cooking. While he started taking pictures as a recreational activity when his wife started competing in triathlons and cycling races, he said the hobby has turned into a creative outlet. Tu’s photographs have been featured on the websites and blogs of professional athletes.

1. What drew you toward commercial law, banking/financial regulations, technology and corporate law?

“First, I enjoyed the variety of clients, which included entrepreneurs and startups, as well as national banks and large technology/software companies. Second, I relished the challenge of not only providing substantive legal experience and strategy, but also acquiring a deep knowledge of each client's business. Finally, I found a transactional practice to be particularly rewarding because it allowed me to work with my clients to meet their business objectives instead of simply being involved in an adversarial process of resolving disputes.”

2. Why did you choose to pursue a career in academia?

“After 5 years of practicing law, I was asked to teach Contracts in the LL.M program at the University of Washington School of Law. I jumped at the chance to return to my alma mater as an adjunct professor. Even during law school, I recognized that a career in academia would be an ideal fit for me as it provided a unique opportunity to combine my passion for exploring the law with the enjoyment that I receive from teaching and mentoring others. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than contributing, in some small way, to the success of a student. As a law professor, I knew that I would have the unique opportunity to do so on a daily basis. I love being a law professor and know that, for me, it is unquestionably the best job in the world.”

3. What are a few standout moments of your career?

 “I view my greatest professional accomplishment as becoming a member of the legal academy and joining the faculty at the University of New Mexico School of Law. I am humbled to work alongside so many brilliant legal scholars and talented teachers. In addition, as a relatively new law professor, I still remember the first articles that I ever had published in a law journal. The first article was published in the Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal (later selected for reprint in the Intellectual Property Law Review), and dealt primarily with the scope of copyright and trademark protection available for fashion designers. The second article was published in the Kansas Law Review and focused on how to amend UCC Article 9 to clarify the test for determining whether a debtor’s name is sufficient for purposes of filing a financing statement. It may not be my greatest accomplishment, but it is certainly one that I treasure.”

4. What is your favorite memory of UW Law?

“The one thing that stands out about my time at UW Law is not a single memory, but rather a true appreciation for the friendships that I made and relationships that I built with students, staff and faculty. I view UW Law as a truly a special law school community that fosters relationships that last long after graduation. To this day, some of my closest friends are people that I met while at UW Law. When I decided to pursue a career in academia, I knew that I could count on the UW Law faculty and administration for help. Dean Kellye Testy and a number of my former professors, including Kate O'Neill, Helen Anderson and Kathleen McGinnis, provided invaluable guidance as I sought a teaching position.”

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