Yau Lee is an Associate Attorney and Mediator at Nachlis | Cohade | Lopez-Whitaker, LLP. She practices all aspects of Family Law. Though she is a fierce litigator, she finds that it is always a defining moment when she can settle cases without going to trial because she truly believes that is in the best interest of her client in terms of cost and efficiency. Her dedication to this result has yielded 95 percent of her cases to be settled out of court. Her advocacy happens in the pleadings and negotiations with the opposing counsel. Laying out a thoughtful argument in writing is one of the strongest negotiating tools that she can use to convince the opposing counsel that it is more of a risk to take the case to court.
Yau understands that Family law matters are inherently emotionally charged, and it is important in her approach to not fire up more drama or tension. Emotions won’t get a case heard any better or keep it out of court. Instead, she focuses on how the case aligns with the law and craft a creative agreement that jointly meets the needs of her clients and the opposing party. Although difficult, she is always honest with her clients about the strategic need to work with the opposing side. Her clients appreciate her strong interpersonal communication skills, responsiveness and ability to actively listen.
Yau is also an endurance athlete, having participated in more than 10 marathons and six half Ironman distance triathlons. Training for and racing these events has given her the fortitude to remain calm in stressful situations, think on her feet, make predictions, trust the process and plan for success. Swimming in the open ocean with 14 foot swells or gunning down a hill on your bike at more 40 miles per hour will give you nerves of steel.
Yau is fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. As a child, she experienced the challenges her immigrant parents and other members of her community faced as non-English speakers trying to understand the language of the law. The lawyers they interacted with didn’t display the patience and ultimately the respect that was warranted to people like her parents that worked so hard to be good citizens of this country. Observing these incidents inspired her to be an attorney of the people – someone that would take the time to listen and “make sense” of complicated legal terms so people can choose the best course of action. She considers law her “fourth language” and she enjoys serving as a “translator” for her clients, especially during the very emotional and life-altering process of divorce and child custody. That is also why during her career she has served in the court to help self-represented litigants and continues to enjoy pro bono work for the monthly Community Law Night in San Mateo County. Yau also serves as a mentor and career panelist for the Community Youth Center in San Francisco.
Yau served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Judge Monica F. Wiley, Judge Lillian K. Sing (retired) and Judge Ronald E. Alberts of the San Francisco Unified Family Court.
She received her Juris Doctor from Golden Gate University School of Law and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego.
Check out her Linkedin here!