A Profile of Art Chung
by Dan Lear
As lawyers and other legal professionals truggle through one of the most challeng- ing hiring markets in the last few decades, many are looking outside the bounds of traditional egal practice or even outside the legal industry for
their next career move. The decision to leave the law entirely can be
daunting, but for many who might not really have had the natural (or
even actual) inclination to be “lawyers,” the realization that others
have travelled this route and not only survived but thrived can be
encouraging. One of those people is game show writer Art Chung.
Art Chung’s path into the legal profession was a traditional one: he was a politi-cal;science;major;at;Yale;University;and;a
graduate;of;NYU;Law;School.;After;grad-uation, he landed a job at the New York
law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
However, after only 15 months on the job,
Chung left law firm life to pursue a career
as a writer.
Beginning with a five-week contract
as a writer on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Chung stayed for the entire prime-time run and then for eight seasons in
syndication with host Meredith Vieira.
Having worked on a number of well-known trivia programs, Chung is now
puzzle editor and puzzle guru for NPR’s
trivia program Ask Me Another.
To shed some additional light on his
non-traditional career path, Chung answered some questions about what he
does, how he got where he is, and why he
made some of the decisions that he did.
Tell us about your background and how
you ended up in law school.
Art Chung: I’ve always been a writer. I
wrote for the school papers in college
and in law school. While in law school, I
even did some freelance work for Time
Out New York. Although I would never
have anticipated ending up in a career
with puzzles, I was looking through some
old school work the other day and found
a trivia game that I had written for the
school paper back in the fifth grade. So I
guess trivia has also been another theme
though my life and career.
As far as going to law school, growing
up, I also wanted to be a Supreme Court
justice — at least, that’s what I thought
when I was 10 years old. Graduating from
college, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself, but law school was right there, and
as a political science major, it seemed to
make sense. Also, I was fortunate enough
What about your experience in law
school and on into the practice of law?
AC: I was certainly interested in law
school from an intellectual standpoint
and I found it very enjoyable. Surprisingly, even though I had a writing background, I saw that I wasn’t interested in
litigation. I didn’t like arguing both sides
of an issue and then letting the courts
decide. I was much more interested in
exploring my side of the argument. Af-