Chinese Student Uses JD Program to Pursue the American Dream
Born and raised in China, Luyang “Yolanda” Liu ’18 came to the United States as a graduate student with plans of becoming an economist. Eager to make a difference in the community, she set her sights on law as a way to expand her skillset while giving back.
“I wasn’t passionate about crunching numbers,” she says. “I dreamt of being a lawyer; it’s one of the few careers that brings together my love of business and helping others.”
At Loyola, Liu worked toward completing the Concentrations in Corporate Law and Tax Law, which provide specialized classroom training, mentoring and experiential opportunities. As part of this training, she has worked in Loyola’s Sales and Use Tax Clinic and volunteered with the Tax Appeals Assistance Program of the California Board of Equalization. “I was able to use my bilingual skills and tax knowledge to gain valuable experience and help real taxpayers,” says Liu, who successfully argued a case at appeal to save her client more than $7,000.
Thanks to her extensive experience, Liu secured a coveted position as a judicial extern at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California and worked as a research assistant for noted Loyola tax scholars Professor Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt. Liu was also Chief Technical Editor of the Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Review. Her note was selected for publication in the winter 2018 edition.
Despite her busy schedule, Liu continued advocating for the Asian American community. She was an active member of Loyola’s Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, where she was the external vice president. Additionally, she was a student representative to the board of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association and frequently volunteered with the Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
Liu is uniquely positioned to assist Asians living in the U.S. After receiving her U.S. master’s in economics, Liu worked as an education counselor and helped hundreds of immigrant youth plan their education paths in the United States. She sees her Loyola degree as a more fulfilling way to incorporate all of her multiple areas of expertise, including accounting, taxation and business management.
“I want to continue helping others navigating the American legal system,” says Liu, who has been offered a position in the International Tax Group of “Big Four” accounting firm KPMG.