Stephen Kulp

Stephen Kulp, 32

BS political science and JD ’13 (accelerated joint degree)

Senior associate, Delany Law

As a gay, Korean American attorney who was adopted, Stephen Kulp says he constantly looks for ways to bring together the affinity groups he represents. Last year, he was elected as the first person of color to chair the Philadelphia LGBTQ Bar Association, offering him an opportunity to mentor other LGBTQ attorneys, as he was at the start of his career, and to advocate for civil rights and equal access. Kulp also is active in the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, both on its LGBTQ and adoptee committees, and he recently organized a virtual event that brought the two groups — “minorities within a minority,” as he described it — together to collaborate. For the past seven years at Delany Law’s Philadelphia office, Kulp has managed the defense of high-exposure lawsuits involving personal injury and commercial disputes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which has resulted in millions in claims and cost savings. He also mentors junior associates on case management, civil procedure and litigation strategy. In addition, Kulp serves as the supervising attorney for the Thomas R. Kline School of Law’s co-op program at Delany. As vice chair of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Litigation Section in 2014–2015, he organized a national, online curriculum for young litigators and published several articles on legal trends.

In his own words…

My Greatest Accomplishment: Being the first Asian American to be elected chair/president of the Philadelphia LGBTQ Bar Association. As representative of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ attorneys, it is my responsibility to lead our organization in the advancement of the welfare and full equality of the LGBTQ community; advocating civil and human rights of all persons; educating the larger community on LGBTQ legal issues; and, improving access to LGBTQ attorneys, law students and legal professionals. It’s an absolute honor to lead an organization that runs and is supported entirely by our volunteer members’ time, energy and resources.

How Drexel Helped Me: Drexel delivered on their promise of hands-on, experience-based co-ops and clinics, which afforded me resources, mentors, community and valuable insight into shaping my own career. As a member of a cohort of BS/JD accelerated degree students, I was subject to a rigorous course schedule and curriculum — but Drexel made sure my undergraduate experience was enriching and fulfilling. In the three short years as an undergraduate, I was a member of the Drexel University Symphony Orchestra, member of the Drexel Sailing Team, founded the Drexel Model Congress and even took a brief study-abroad in Belgium.

What Success Looks Like to Me: To paraphrase various words of wisdom from Dolly Parton (success personified), success is being brave enough to try, finding out who you are, doing it with purpose, and refusing to limit yourself because people won’t accept the fact you can do something else.

How the Past Year Has Influenced Me: Following a year that started off with cancelled meetings and with trials that evolved into virtual hearings, depositions, conferences (and the occasional happy hour), there is one very powerful lesson I am grateful to take away from 2020 — we are all just one (or two if you need to unmute) click away from making rewarding connections and meaningful friendships with folks down the street, across the country and around the globe.

My Top Post-Pandemic Plan: Thirty-two years ago, I immigrated to the United States from South Korea as an adoptee; and, in the months leading up to the pandemic, started searching for my birth parents. My top post-pandemic plan is to return to Korea, connect with my culture and heritage and continue my search for my birth family. Also hugs, lots of them.