Attorney Esther Yoo represents plaintiffs in personal injury cases. She also works with senior attorneys at the firm, drafting motions and conducting research in complex disputes. Prior to joining Berman & Simmons in 2016, she was an attorney for a large law firm in Portland, where she handled civil litigation matters.
Esther is known for her deep care and concern for her clients, and a strong commitment to public service and teaching.
Esther earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from Harvard University. Prior to law school, she served in the AmeriCorps VISTA national service program. She earned her law degree at the UCLA School of Law, where she was an editor of the UCLA Law Review and graduated Order of the Coif.
After law school, she was an associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Los Angeles. There, she defended an insurer against a claim of coverage by a major oil company for the costs of one of the largest government-ordered remediations in California history. Esther also represented pro bono clients in housing, asylum, and adoption proceedings, and contributed to a successful Ninth Circuit brief on behalf of a prisoner bringing civil rights claims.
The direction of Esther’s career changed when she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Dolly M. Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Judge Gee had been a plaintiff’s lawyer, and she recognized that Esther had a similar mindset and skills.
“Judge Gee had so many great stories about the cases she litigated as a practicing lawyer. I started to see how creative and strategic you could be as a lawyer for plaintiffs,” Esther says. “The idea of working on behalf of people who would not have access to justice without an advocate fighting for them appealed to me.”
A daughter of immigrants from Korea, Esther was raised just outside of Los Angeles. From an early age she was interested in law, government, and writing. Her parents instilled in her the values of hard work, integrity, and fairness, as well as the importance of treating all people with respect.
Esther is an adjunct professor at the University of Maine School of Law. She also volunteers with the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, providing pro bono legal representation to asylum seekers in Maine.
Memberships, Distinctions, and Community Service
- Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, 2015–present
- American Association of Justice, 2016–present
- Maine Trial Lawyers Association, 2016–present
- Maine State Bar Association, 2016–present
- Board Member, YWCA (Maine), 2017–present
- UCLA School of Law
- Senior Editor, UCLA Law Review
- Order of the Coif
- David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy
- Writing Advisor, First-Year Lawyering Skills Program
- Super Lawyers ― “Rising Star,” 2017–present
- Katahdin Counsel, 2016