I am a 2001 LLM graduate of the SJ Quinney College of Law (“CoL”), University of Utah (the “U”), may be one of the few, if not the only, Chinese students of the CoL since China reopened its door to US in 1980’s. At the time when I was admitted by the CoL back to 15 years ago, most Chinese students at the U studied natural science and engineering. I surprised many of them that the CoL could offer a full scholarship to a Chinese law student.
The LLM program was only one year, but it was a year that substantially affected my life, both intellectually and professionally. It was at the CoL during the year that for the first time I understood American legal system and legal culture, attended classes in Socratic manner, received legal education through seminars, clinical program, moot court and many other innovative ways, did legal research through online database, and brainstormed with great professors and classmates.
My practice and research potentials were fully developed under the guidance and inspiration of the prestigious professors at the CoL. As a good conclusion of my one-year exciting struggle at the CoL, I published my graduation paper on the famous Georgetown International Environmental Law Journal. The fact that I was later admitted to the New York Bar was another best footnote for the benefit I received from the training at the CoL. Both achievements could not be easily made by most of my native American peers.
In addition to the immediate help from the CoL, the highly effective supporting system and very friendly staff around the campus made my life at the U not only fruitful but also enjoyable. This memorable experience also benefits my current teaching at the leading Law School of the Renmin University of China as an adjunct professor.
The legal education I received at the CoL was evidently critical to every piece of success I achieved in my professional career since graduation. Immediately upon graduation, I was interviewed by a leading Wall Street firm, and was later hired by the most prestigious global maritime law firm based in London. A few years later, I became the youngest partner of a leading Chinese firm, making me among the handful Chinese lawyers specialized in international business transactions. More recently, I opened my own firm Morale Consultants specialized in cross-border investment and dispute resolution. Besides my primary practice in China, I actively extended my professional activities to the whole world in the past 15 years- I was a recipient of the Australian Leadership Award-Fellowship offered by the Attorney General Department of Australia and I was offered to act as visiting senior foreign legal advisor for some top tier international firms, including the biggest Hong Kong firm Deacons, the largest Australian law firm MALLESONS STEPHEN JAQUES, the biggest Australian financial group Macquaire and the leading Italian firm BONELLI EREDE PAPPALARDO.
As I am so grateful for the overall training I received at the U and so proud of being one of its alumni, I initiated to set up the China Club of the U Alumni Association in 2011, when another distinguished U alumnus Jon Huntsman, Jr. was US ambassador to China. As its first President, I represented the China Club to welcome the visiting Utah Governor Herbert in 2012 in Beijing.
In my recent revisits to the U, I am pleased to see more Chinese students now studying in the campus and the U has built a more close relationship with China through a variety of ways, such as the PAC-12 events regularly held in China. With the growth of U’s more solid reputation in China, I am optimistically believe that more Chinese younger generation students will acknowledge its prestige and excellency, and be able to have the opportunities to study in the U. In turn, the U will take more pride in what its Chinese students have accomplished and will accomplish. In that respect, I hope my 15 years story as a Chinese U alum will add a little shine to the U’s glorious history of more than a century.