Portner & Shure attorneys have practiced injury work in the Korean Community for twenty years. The law firm currently has three Korean employees on staff, Lydia Kim, Esther You, and Yijun Lim. While we understand personal injury law, we also have spent a considerable amount of time learning about the Korean Community. We believe that a better understanding of Korean speaking accident victims helps us understand their losses better. We wrote this article to show other injury attorneys and the Korean Community what we have learned over the years.
Korean-Americans own hundreds of small businesses throughout the region. It is a close knit community dominated by family, jobs, schools, and church. In Howard County you will find the third largest Korean American community in the United States. The commercial spirit can be seen in full force at the Lotte Plaza, and in Catonsville and Woodlawn at H-Mart and Seoul Plaza.
Since I began practicing as a lawyer in the Korean community twenty years ago, the growth in the Korean community has been phenomenal. In fact, nearly 250,000 Korean Americans live between Owings Mills, Maryland and Alexandria, Virginia. Currently, there are approximately 20,000 Korean Americans in the Baltimore region.
Although many Koreans live in the suburbs there are efforts to build a Korean business community in Baltimore City at the intersection of North and Charles Streets. Korean town can also be seen in Glen Burnie, Maryland where you can find over 50 Korean owned companies along a small stretch of Crain Highway.
The Korean community is served by its own institutions. Members of the community value family, job, school and church. In fact, there are more than 75 churches in the Baltimore region. Many of Portner & Shure's Korean clients are active church members. We believe this is helpful to know, and we use this fact when arguing credibility to automobile insurance carriers. Two Korean language daily newspapers, The Korean Times and Korean Daily operate close to Portner & Shure's Columbia personal injury office in Ellicott City, Maryland.
There are numerous organizations that serve the Korean community, they include the Korean Americans Grocers and Licensed Beverage Association of Maryland (KAGRO) which has 250 members, almost all mom-and-pop shops and liquor stores many based in Baltimore City, Maryland. We have found that many of our automobile accident clients are members of KAGRO or other organizations that support the Korean community; including the Korean-American Community Service Center and the Korean Society of Maryland. The fact that our injured clients are hardworking in something that juries appreciate and tend to make our Korean automobile accident clients more believable. KAGRO is actually part of a national organization begun to help Korean American business owners with the American system and aid in dealing with government employees and suppliers. Business ownership is part of the fabric of the local Korean community. In fact, estimates are that 4000 of the 6000 businesses in the Washington area as well as about half of Prince George's Asian businesses are Korean owned.
Another organization located in Columbia, Maryland is the Korean American Community Association of Howard County. Leaders of this organization are quick to point out that education is king to folks in this community. A college education is considered critical, with emphasis on the top 50 Universities. Many of our Korean accident clients are in fact college educated. We have found this fact plays well to most juries, since the makeup of the jury pool for automobile accident cases in Howard County, Maryland and Northern Virginia (Fairfax County) is often filled with college educated people.
In Maryland and Virginia, the Korean Community often gets together in one of 75 area churches. Bethel Korean Presbyterian on St. John's Lane in Ellicott City, Maryland has the largest congregation with as many as 2,000 worshipers.
According to the most recent census Chinese and Korean are the largest Asian ethic groups in Maryland, each representing 22% of the Asian population in the State.
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