Birthplace: Beijing, China
Position: Head of Global Practice of O’Melveny & Meyers, New York
Ko-Yung Tung’s legal career began in 1973 when he got his law degree from Harvard University. In addition to a prestigious career as a big-firm transactional lawyer representing numerous corporate giants, he has taught at NYU’s School of Law and served on various commissions, including the Commmission on Pacific Trade and Investment Policy to which he was appointed by President Clinton. He also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the East-West Center, a federally established educational and research institution.
His first job — and we’ll have to take his word on this — was as a dog walker and disco dancer. Somehow he made his way over to being an associate attorney at the New York firm of Debroisse & Plimpton. A few years later he had his own practice representing Japanese companies which, in turn, led to joining up with the New York office of one of L.A.‘s leading firms.
“Don’t hide your ethnicity,” he advises, “but don’t ride on it, either.” The fluent Japanese he acquired while growing up in Japan certainly played a signficant role in his early successes signing up Japanese corporate clients, but he credits his success mostly to plain old hard work and some good luck.
Tung is married with four children and lives in an exclusive Long Island neighborhood. When he finds spare time, he enjoys tennis and playing with his children.