Phil Yao is an associate in the firm's litigation & enforcement practice group. His practice focuses on complex civil litigation, appellate litigation, commercial litigation, antitrust law, and education law. His clients include multinational banks, universities, private equity firms, pharmaceutical companies, and closely held corporations. Phil also maintains an active pro bono practice, representing various plaintiffs in federal impact litigation as well as veterans seeking discharge upgrades. Phil serves on the Board of Directors of the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts (AALAM). Under the firm’s longstanding partnership with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Phil also served as a special assistant district attorney for the City of Cambridge, during which he argued numerous jury trials, bench trials, and dispositive motions.
Prior to rejoining the firm in 2021, Phil clerked for then Chief Judge Jeffrey R. Howard of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. During law school, Phil served as the editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal of Law and Technology, and he also served for several years as a research assistant to California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu. Additionally, Phil interned in the Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts. Prior to law school, Phil received graduate degrees in education and business from the University of Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. He received his undergraduate degree in physics, summa cum laude, from Harvard College.
- Representing top university in financial aid class action antitrust action brought against 17 universities.
- Representing leading multinational bank in Middle East in tort-based lawsuits in various federal courts.
- Representing various individual plaintiffs in challenging free speech restrictions on diversity trainings in Florida, securing a preliminary injunction and handling federal appeal.
- Represented the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in over 300 criminal cases as a special assistant district attorney for the City of Cambridge.
- Represented pharmaceutical company in industry-wide generics antitrust litigation and FDA federal appeal.
- Represented top pharmacy chain in pricing litigation involving various insurance companies.
- Represented top private equity firm in successful divestiture of assets, allowing $13 billion merger to proceed.
- Represented leading financial firm in assessing risks and producing report in advance of 2020 U.S. presidential election.
- Represented director of national agricultural producer in derivative action asserting breaches of fiduciary duty.
- Represented prominent vehicle manufacturer and its directors and officers in derivative action.
- Represented global food company in patent infringement suit in filing petition for certiorari and subsequently in federal district court litigation.
- Represented large university in withdrawal from athletic conference.
- Represented top private school in exposing/addressing sexual abuse on campus.
- Represented foreign elevator manufacturer in providing regulatory advice in the United States and China.
- Represented various Boston-area small businesses in securing COVID-19 governmental relief.
- Represented Colombian family of Steppingstone Scholar in securing cancellation of removal from U.S.
- Represented special needs student in negotiations with school district for out-of-district placement.
- Author, “Mergers Between Higher Education Institutions: Regulatory Considerations, Antitrust Concerns, and Best Practices,” Journal of Law & Education, Volume 49 (2020)
- Co-author, “Who’s Going to Law School? Trends in Law School Enrollment Since the Great Recession,” University of California Davis Law Review, Volume 54 (2020)
- Speaker, “Trends in Law School Enrollment,” Harvard Law School, Legal Profession Seminar (Prof. David Wilkins) (February 2020)
- JD, Yale Law School, 2019
- MSc, MBA, University of Oxford, 2015
- AB (Physics), summa cum laude, Harvard College, 2013
Admissions / Qualifications
- Massachusetts, 2019
- U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, 2020