Meet Patrick Yip ’21 E.LL.M.

Yip is a lifelong learner with global experience.

Patrick Yip
Tell us about your background and interests.

I work for a Big Four accounting firm in Hong Kong. I have a rather diverse background: Besides my Columbia Law Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law (E.LL.M.) degree, I have an undergraduate accounting degree and a master’s degree in tax from the University of Texas at Austin, an undergraduate law degree from the University of Cambridge in the U.K., an MBA degree from the University of Chicago, and an LL.M. degree from U.C. Berkeley. I am interested in law, economics, and finance and how they interact in the context of real-life issues. I am pleased that I have been able to apply my diverse skill set to my work to create value for my clients and colleagues.

The hybrid format of the Executive LL.M. (3 months online and 3 months on campus) allows for flexibility for working professionals. What about the Executive LL.M. program appealed to you?

I thought the Executive LL.M. program was quite unique in that it has a focus on global business law. My other LL.M. consisted mostly of general American law courses necessary to fulfill the academic requirements to sit for a bar exam. The E.LL.M. in Global Business Law, on the other hand, had a special appeal to me—in a pragmatic way, given the international environment in which I operate and the diversity and complexity of the issues it involves. The flexibility of the E.LL.M. program was an added advantage, which has proved to be extremely rewarding. After all, it is Columbia Law School, which has a sterling reputation in the quality of its faculty and students, and the opportunity to be able to attend the Law School is a privilege as far as I am concerned.

Columbia Law School is known internationally for its academic rigor and outstanding professors. Can you give an example of a class or professor that made an impression on you?

There was a class I took during the online portion of the program, and the professor would come on Zoom and start speaking without any slides or other teaching materials. What really surprised me was that he could talk from the top of his head—citing cases, opinions of the different judges, the relevant legal history, etc. He was able to field questions from students spontaneously with precision and always back up his answers with on-point authority. He would call on students and grill them on what he thought were “easy questions.” Everyone was on edge in his class. His exam, as he promised, was extremely hard. Looking back, his class was one of my most memorable experiences at Columbia Law School, as I learned so much from the class, and with a lot of hard work going into it, I managed to earn a good grade. It was a thoroughly satisfying and amazing academic experience.

How did the E.LL.M. program help you grow as a lawyer?

I feel that my diverse skill set has been further enhanced in a way that has exceeded my expectations. I find myself more confident in dealing with emerging and complex issues at work as I now have a more macro view of things that are grounded in a solid analytical framework.