On January 28, Phyllis Chang spoke at USALI. She was born in New York, and grew up in the New York suburbs. Her undergraduate period spent at Dartmouth College "made her a feminist" - as she attended the school during the process of transitioning to a co-ed system in the late 1970s. Later, she lived and worked in Beijing from 1994 to 2015, and was one of the first foreign students to study law at Peking University. After receiving her J.D. law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, Ms. Chang was a Jervey Fellow at Columbia Law School from 1986-88. As part of her Jervey Fellowship, Ms. Chang spent 1986-87 at China Renmin (People’s) University doing research on Chinese contract law and the Chinese legal profession. Ms. Chang practiced corporate law in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, California from 1988-1993, before discovering the non-profit world in 1994 and joining the Ford Foundation. From 1994 to 2000, she was the Ford Foundation’s Program Officer for Law, Rights and Governance in China.
Chang discussed the foundation of China Law and Development Consultants (“CLD”), a Hong Kong firm established in 2000 to support non-profit development work in China. CLD focuses on programs to promote rule of law, citizens’ rights, governance reform, and development of the emerging NGO sector in China. In addition, CLD provides consulting services to foreign donors and foreign non-profit organizations that are conducting programs in China or considering doing so.