From accounting to acquisitions: William Yang’s path to a career in law

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For UNSW alumnus William Yang, a Juris Doctor allowed him to pursue a passion for law sparked by his undergraduate studies. Less than three years since graduating, William works as a lawyer at Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Corrs).

William’s undergraduate studies in commerce uncovered his interest in law, much to his surprise, but still influences the lawyer he is today. Initially studying a major in accounting, William was inspired to pursue a Juris Doctor after completing commercial and corporations law subjects. More recently, at Corrs, William had the opportunity to complete three graduate rotations in Commercial litigation, Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions and Restructure and Insolvency.

William Yang at Christmas party event
William at Corrs Christmas Party 2018.


Hands-on experiences in and out of the classroom

When it came to deciding where to pursue his interest in law, UNSW Law & Justice’s learning environment that prioritises interactive learning experience through practical learning was key to William’s decision.

“My research told me that the law courses at UNSW are more practically focused with an emphasis on class participation. I thought that I would do better in an environment like this. So I chose UNSW and never regret it!” he says.

“What stays with me from UNSW are the legal skills acquired by hands-on learning experience and class discussion with lecturers and classmates.”

William also gained soft skills critical to his career outside the classroom through hands-on involvement with the UNSW Law Society. As the Vice-President (International) of the UNSW Law Society, William was responsible for organising international student activities and overseas career events, including the International Students Outreach Program and UNSW Hong Kong Law Career Fair.

“I think teamwork is definitely one of the key skills that I took away from this experience. It took a lot of cooperation and coordination to deliver a career fair where a dozen international law firms based in Hong Kong flew to Sydney (the good old days!) to attend a series of career presentations and career events. No single person would be able to organise it without help from every one of the team,” he explains.

With a close-knit cohort of students in the UNSW JD program, William says the highlight of his time at UNSW were social events organised by UNSW Law Society, such as “the annual JD balls and the JD drinks during the term,” he reflects.

William Yang with classmates at dinner
William with fellow UNSW Law Society members.


Bringing unique perspectives to legal challenges

William says the things he enjoys most about his career since graduating from UNSW have been bringing his cultural and educational background together to find the right solutions for his clients.

So far, William says the highlight of his career has been “being able to take advantage of my bilingual background to help my team both in business development and servicing clients.”

The experience and knowledge from his undergraduate studies in commerce, with the professional standard of a Juris Doctor, bring richness to the legal solutions he finds for clients.

“As a corporate lawyer, I enjoy not only using our legal knowledge and skills to assist clients in achieving their commercial goals but also gaining an in-depth understanding of the clients’ business and commercial motives."

“Clients come to lawyers for legal services, but in many cases, a purely legal solution will not be able to help the clients to solve the issues that keep them up at night. Starting from a legal perspective but eventually being able to reach a commercially informed legal solution is what I enjoy the most about my work.”


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*QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2021