Editors’ Note: Read about Evangeline Phang, a San Francisco associate in our Transactions Department, in the latest installment of our ongoing Faces of MoFo series.
I did not always dream of becoming a lawyer (instead, a young me thought I was going to be an archeologist à la Indiana Jones). At some point, however, I became captivated by the amount of agency that a legal education could provide and the potential downstream impact of my work on my family and community. The path to this white-collar profession was not a straight one and I learned from many mistakes. Being a first-generation immigrant, college student, and professional is a unique experience that comes with its own set of challenges. I lacked the financial resources, social connections, and professional role models growing up, and feelings of inadequacy and imposter syndrome were not uncommon. Even so, these experiences also instilled in me a strong work ethic and an unwavering determination to succeed. Along the way, I was also fortunate to encounter moments of luck, serendipity, and invaluable support from others, which all played a significant role in my journey. While perseverance and grit were crucial in overcoming these early challenges, I also recognize the importance of the support and opportunities provided by those who believed in my potential.
Upon joining MoFo, I was immediately drawn to the Technology Transactions practice because of the outstanding colleagues, mentors, and opportunities to work on cutting-edge technology with innovating clients. I quickly discovered that the practice was truly one-of-a-kind, offering me the chance not only to develop my legal skills by dissecting complex issues and develop creative solutions to problems, but also to explore the intersection between law, technology, and business. In hindsight, I had traded in my fascination with the past, as embodied in historical artifacts, for a keen interest in the future, as embodied in technological growth. What I see in technological innovations is similar to what others previously saw in me: potential.
In my role as a Technology Transactions attorney, I have had the privilege of advising and interacting with clients at different levels, including in-house counsel, business stakeholders, and technical teams. I see much of my role as helping to put the puzzle pieces together in product development and commercial transactions and IP transactions. Striving to better understand the clients’ businesses and products and their unique challenges, and working together to bring innovative solutions in a rapidly evolving technological landscape, bring me immense professional satisfaction. My colleagues and mentors not only have supported me as I hone my legal skills but have also been invaluable sources of guidance and encouragement throughout my time at the firm. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue contributing to the growth and advancement of the technology transactions practice at MoFo.
I am also particularly proud to have grown alongside the firm ever since I started as a summer associate at MoFo, knowing that I was intentionally choosing to be part of an organization that values diversity, inclusion, and the unique perspectives that individuals from different backgrounds bring to the table. I have also found that these values are reflected in many of our clients, as I have had more than one opportunity to participate in a client-led professional development and mentorship program, collaborate with clients on pro bono projects to provide assistance in our shared communities, and come together to celebrate our shared cultures and diversities. I am at my happy place when I am constantly learning, adapting, and growing, and I am appreciative of the supportive and collaborative environment that MoFo provides, not only in the initiatives that are made available but also in the quality of clients with whom I get to work.
My story is just one example of the many diverse narratives that make up the AAPI community. AAPI Heritage Month is a time for us to celebrate our unique experiences, honor our ancestors, and embrace the cultural richness that we bring to the American tapestry. In reflecting on my journey, I realize that my personal identity as a first-generation Asian American has played a significant role in shaping my career and outlook on life. As an Asian American attorney, I recognize the importance of representation and visibility in the legal profession and continue to strive to be a role model and mentor for others who may be facing similar experiences, offering guidance and support as they navigate their own journeys. My experiences have taught me the importance of resilience, adaptability, hard work, and luck—all qualities that have served me well in the legal profession. In short, I am proud of my heritage and grateful for the opportunities that have come my way, as they have allowed me to contribute to the rich tapestry of AAPI experiences in America.