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May 30, 2024 - MoFo Women, MoFo Diversity

Faces of MoFo: Soo Park

Soo Park

Editors’ Note: Read about Soo Park, a Los Angeles associate in the firm’s Litigation Department, in the latest installment of our ongoing Faces of MoFo series.

I love words. Their sounds. Their cadence. How they hum and they sing. I love the way they roll off my tongue. The way they glide across a page. How so many can say so little. How so few can say so much. I love the way they change over time. The way they pack a punch. Oh, and how they test me at times. I just love them. 

Growing up in Seoul, it was mal (말). Word, or speech—or horse. (Aren’t words so fascinating?) Grown-ups often told me, mal manta, which figuratively means that I talk too much. Literally, the phrase means there are lots of words. Everywhere I went, there were lots of words, and I felt at home. 

When I was twelve, my family moved to the United States, and there were lots of words that I did not know. I still remember spending three hours on a single-page worksheet, looking up every single word in my paper dictionary (it was the ‘90s). I remember writing the word “Renaissance” over and over to memorize it. I remember sitting in ESL class trying to understand the difference between watchlook, and see. Everywhere I went, there were lots of words, and I felt lost. 

But it was not long before I fell in love with words all over again. Four years later, I was in college studying American poetry. Another four years later, I was in New Orleans teaching teenagers English Language Arts. Three years later, I was in law school rediscovering the power of . . . you guessed it—words! I learned about how words can hold clarity and ambiguity. How reasonable people could disagree on what they mean. How they can grant rights and take them away.  

People often ask me how I got into patent law. The truth is that I think patent law is for word lovers (and grammar nerds). Of course, the idea and the invention lie at the heart. But the words define the confines of that legal right to exclude. Many times, how the patent describes the invention and what words it uses end up making all the difference in patent litigation. How does the word the change the scope of the claims? Is the phrase such as limiting? What is the “plain and ordinary meaning” of the word connection? Every day, I have the privilege of spending the day with words, my love.

I am lucky because when work ends, I am home with my other loves—my husband Lucas and our daughters, JoJo and Emme. Last week, my five-year-old told me an elaborate story about a trip that her dolls, Evelyn and Cena, took on the magic school bus. I turned to her and said, ow mal manta. JoJo said, “mal? Isn’t that a horse?” “Yes, JoJo,” I said. “Yes.”