When Stephen first mentions that he is a lawyer, many predictably respond with, “I would have never guessed, you are not your typical lawyer-type at all! And I mean it as a compliment!” Not entirely by his own design, Stephen is the neighborhood business owners’ kid that made good. He is the cousin who likely would have happily stepping into the family business restaurant business but instead got into law school and came out alive.
Despite what appears to be worlds away from the food and beverage business what has stuck to him in all these years is the belief in ‘serving up’ same customer focused service. Carved onto his heart is the unwavering calling to be a comforter and encourager for hard-working immigrant families overwhelmed by the very legal system that is meant to protect. To solve real-life problems, to bring peace of mind into business operations, and to utilize and explain in plain English (or Chinese) the legal system to help them, rather than being perceived as a stumbling block to making sound financial decisions - these are goals included in the mission that keeps Stephen hungry for becoming better at what he does each day.
Brilliant Cut of a Diamond
The many facets of Stephen’s strength came from persistently sharpening his skills in understanding the intricacy of human relationships, going the extra mile and resolving issues in simple ways, as well as staying abreast of the evolving legal landscape to meet a need in real time. Whether it’s to remove roadblocks for a start-up business, straighten out complications in family planning matter, or creatively protecting his clients from unnecessary exposure to liability, he takes on your cause as his own.
He currently serves as Outside Corporate Counsel to a San Francisco-based bank with operations in China. He advises on banking law and consumer compliance. He also serves as pro-bono Legal Counsel for an Asian American hospice care non-profit organization. Previously he served as VP and Corporate Counsel to a technology start-up, where he handled the corporate governance, private placement, all vendor and customer contracts, leasing and all day to day legal matters.
Stephen’s cross-border transactions experience was honed while serving as Foreign Legal Counsel at King and Wood Mallesons in Beijing, one of Asia-Pacific’s largest law firms.
Stephen holds a Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law; he holds a Master’s of Law (LLM) from Peking University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is fluent in English and speaks Mandarin. He is licensed to practice in California.
It all started here...
Stephen was born into a typical Chinese immigrant family living in the East Bay, California. Growing up, he experienced firsthand how much easier life could be when people have a trusted source to go to, being the one to translate a letter from the landlord’s lawyer or collection notice, or explaining a hospital bill or a bank statement to dad or grandma. It seems Stephen has been “practicing” since grade school.