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 leading multinational bank in Middle East in tort-based lawsuits, securing numerous full dismissals in various federal courts, and in Section 1782 petition for litigation abroad.
  • Representing top sovereign wealth fund in analyzing the Foreign Agents Registration Act and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.  
  • Representing various individual plaintiffs in challenging free speech restrictions on diversity trainings in Florida, securing a preliminary injunction at the district court and affirmance at the Eleventh Circuit.
  • Representing specialty pharmaceutical company in industry-wide generics antitrust litigation.
  • Representing group of prominent underwriters in Ninth Circuit securities appeal.
  • Representing multinational bank in South America in regard to federal indictment involving the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
  • Represented top university in financial aid class action antitrust action brought against 17 universities.
  • Represented leading biopharmaceutical company in navigating novel state drug pricing legislation.
  • Represented the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in over 300 criminal cases as a special assistant district attorney for the City of Cambridge, including numerous jury and bench trials.
  • Represented top pharmacy chain in pricing litigation involving various insurance companies.
  • Represented top private equity firm in successful divestiture of assets, allowing $10+ billion merger to proceed.
  • Represented leading financial firm in assessing risks and producing comprehensive 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 prominent university in complex withdrawal from athletic conference.
  • Represented top Massachusetts private school in exposing/addressing sexual abuse on campus.
  • Represented foreign elevator manufacturer in providing complex 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 the United States.
  • Represented special needs student in negotiations with school district for out-of-district placement.

Areas of Practice