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Yang Wang

  • Michigan Law, 2008, JD, magna cum laudeYang Wang, '08
  • University of Maryland, 2005, MA, Applied Mathematics
  • University of Maryland, 2001, BS, Mathematics and Computer Science, magna cum laude
  • University of Maryland, 2000, BA, Economics, summa cum laude

Yang Wang lived in the Lawyers Club all three years at Michigan Law and fondly recalls the laughter that punctuated the dinnertime chats he shared with classmates. On Saturday evenings, when the dining room was closed, it was common for Wang and his fellow students to "venture outside the Law Quad in search of the best beer and Chinese food in town."

Food and fellowship were an integral part of Wang's Law School experience, which included working on the Michigan Law Review during his 2L and 3L years.

An American Education

A native of China, Wang came to the United States to attend college at the University of Maryland, where he was offered a full scholarship thanks to the financial generosity of Clopper Almon, an economics professor who had established the scholarship at Maryland for undergraduate students from former or current communist countries. "The only 'string' attached to the scholarship was that Professor Almon hoped that recipients would eventually return to their home countries to make an impact there with their American education," Wang said.

Wang worked as a computer programmer after graduating from Maryland, and while the work was "fun and fulfilling," he realized it "probably was not a career that would allow me to maximize the benefits of an American education and help make an impact back home when I returned."

A law degree seemed like it would fit the bill, Wang thought, and with the encouragement of Professor Almon, he applied to Michigan Law, where he was offered a Darrow Scholarship. "To someone who had benefited tremendously from an undergraduate scholarship, both financially and in terms of the mentoring I received from Professor Almon, I saw the Darrow as a unique opportunity to, without the near-term financial impact of a law school education, develop a long-term relationship with a renowned institution and outstanding faculty at the forefront of the American legal education," he said. "It did not take me much time at all to decide to attend Michigan, and 10 years later I am still very happy that I made that choice."

Fulfilling Legal Work

Wang graduated from Michigan Law in 2008 and worked as an associate in the New York office of Sullivan and Cromwell LLP. In 2010, he joined the Beijing office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP where he is a partner doing cross-border M&A and corporate work. Wang was recongnized as one of China's Top 15 M&A Lawyers in 2018 by Asian Legal Business.

"I do not know if I am in fact fulfilling Professor Almon's wish that I make an impact back home, or if my work is nearly as exciting as other Darrows who have gone on to do great things," Wang said, "but I do get a tremendous sense of satisfaction out of my work, especially when I use my training as an American lawyer and upbringing as a Chinese to explain issues in a way that appear sensible and rational to both sides and to help bridge legal, commercial, and cultural gaps. If these types of transactions help China become more integrated with the rest of the world and for the world to understand China better, then hopefully I helped make some small impact somewhere along the way."

The Impact of a Darrow Scholarship

Wang remains thankful for the Darrow Scholarship, which he said is "much more than an extremely generous, named scholarship at a world-leading institution. The Darrow afforded me the opportunity to receive an outstanding education that I would otherwise not have, to more fully enjoy the education than I would otherwise be able to, and, most importantly, to have a sense of responsibility to remain committed to the reason for which I attended law school and for which I was offered the Darrow in the first place."

Story written by Lori Atherton.​​​