A South Korean member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been confirmed as a justice on the country’s Supreme Court.
Elder Kwon, 52, who has been serving as an Area Seventy since 2020, will serve for six years on the 14-member court. He said that his faith has been a major influence in his law work and also brought up his experiences as a missionary during the confirmation hearings.
“The missionary service I did after entering law school — postponing my studies for a year — changed my life,” he said. “I met so many people in need and had so many deep conversations. I cried a lot of tears because I was very sensitive. Even though my studies were delayed by a year, my reverence for life deepened tenfold. I realized more quickly that law is also a study of life.”
Elder Kwon also shared about his experiences serving in his community as a Latter-day Saint.
“I wanted to connect my personal life to the welfare of the community,” he said. “I thought about how I could give back to the community with my time, talent and money, and I did that through my religion.”
In written testimony prior to his confirmation hearing, Elder Kwon submitted various materials to Congress that emphasize the good the Church of Jesus Christ does in society.
Elder Kwon’s parents joined the Church in 1975, and he spent his childhood and adolescence in the Church. He married his wife, Sister Yeonshin Lee, in the Seoul Korea Temple in 1995, and they have two sons and two daughters.
Elder Kwon attended Seoul National University School of Law, passed the bar exam in 1993 and entered the Judicial Research and Training Institute. He was a judge advocate general in the Navy before being appointed as a judge of the Seoul District Court in 1999. His doctorate is from Seoul National University, and he has a master’s degree from Harvard Law School. He has been a professor at Seoul National University School of Law since 2006 and served twice as vice dean of the Graduate School of Law.
“The courtroom is not just a place of legal logic but a place where life’s desperate appeals are heard,” Elder Kwon said. “I will listen to the voices of life with a humble heart. The discourse on law should harmoniously incorporate the diverse voices of life, and I will make sure the voices of the few are not drowned out by the shouts of the many.”
As a legal scholar, Elder Kwon has studied civil, intellectual property, privacy and international trade aspects of the law. He has also published more than 30 books and 80 academic papers. He has also served as a working member of the Civil Law Revision Committee of the Ministry of Justice, chairman of the Legal Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Justice and a member of the National Intellectual Property Committee.