Chengxi Yao, JD, LLM
Hello from China! After graduating from BC Law with a JD in 1991, I worked in the US securities industry, including NASD/FINRA, Nasdaq, NYSE, and Fidelity Investments. I further earned an L.LM., with distinction, in securities and financial regulation from Georgetown University Law Center in 1997.
Since 2010, I have been teaching US securities regulation at Shantou University Business School, People’s Republic of China. It is very gratifying teaching this subject to Chinese business students.
Here is a synopsis of my journey before and after BC Law:
Prior to my arrival in the United States in 1988 as a Chinese citizen, I had been working in Beijing as a diplomat, with the diplomatic ranking of third secretary, in the Department of International Treaty & Law, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. My work experience at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and my mentor at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the U.S. law school-trained Dr. Li Haopei, who was then chief legal adviser to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, motivated me to study law in the United States. At that time, the US law school entrance exam (LSAT) was not offered in China, so I took the GRE exam, which was allowed in China.
The day after I arrived in the United States from China, I went to, randomly, another law school in Boston to apply there and was rejected out of hand. I was told “we do not accept Chinese students because once we had a Chinese student who could not even understand the word capsized in the sentence ‘the boat capsized’ in a Torts class.” Without a word, I left and ventured to BC Law. I met with Dean Lisa DiLuna who listened to my background with great understanding, compassion, and appreciation. My GRE scores were accepted by BC Law in lieu of the LSAT, and I became a member of the Class of 1991.
At that time, China had no stock market and was yet to develop sophisticated market economy laws. I was intrigued first by U.S. contract law and tax law that I studied at BC Law. I remember my class participation and comments in tax law classes earned me a nickname from my American classmates as “the red capitalist from China!â€ Obviously, my nickname did not come from my wealth, which I had none, but for my thinking. In addition to contract law and tax law, I was further intrigued by the many â€œstrangeâ€ concepts in antitrust law and securities law–terms I never heard of in China.Â
Although I had all along intended to return to China to contribute to law-building in China, my work in the United States in the securities field, from a small law firm doing securities transactional work, then to securities regulatory work at the NASD (today’s FINRA), Nasdaq, NYSE, and Fidelity Investments, made the US securities industry my passion and my career. I became a United States citizen. I was greatly influenced by my US mentors: Mr. Richard G. Ketchum, the former US Securities and Exchange Commission director of market regulation, and Mr. Mark D. Young, a former official at the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). I was committed to learning from them and being a good financial regulation professional serving the US securities industry and the investing public.
In 2010, this Chinese university, Shantou University, which is the only university in China that is both government-owned and privately funded (funded by Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing Foundation), recruited me in their global talent recruitment program, to teach US securities regulation to the Chinese students. It is very exciting and gratifying. The Chinese students are learning this technical subject, as well as global perspectives, with the same zeal and curiosity as I had when I arrived at BC Law in 1988!Â
I wish I could be at our Reunion this fall, but school is in full session here in China. Coincidentally, I did visit BC Law this past summer. Professor Susan Simone Kang, director of BC Law’s International LL.M. program, invited me to speak to her class.Â As I saw the young, promising faces of students from various countries with a genuine passion and will to learn, I deeply felt the values BC Law is committed to, and the contributions it makes to our global society, regardless of where its students come from.