2L student Jacklyn Fang quickly earns the trust of clients at the Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors Clinic. Just under five feet tall, with a quiet demeanor and soft voice, she doesn't impose. But she impresses.
Fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, Fang also speaks a Shanghainese dialect and mastered English watching American television in Hong Kong. She’s a natural with the non-English speaking Chinese residents at the Tenderloin senior homes where she helps to deliver educational presentations about legal healthcare issues. As a volunteer over the past year, she has also translated documents, interpreted during doctor visits, and provided legal counsel to elderly patients.
Fang finds that this work can get emotional. “It is sad, visiting people who are bed-bound,” she said, describing a recent house call with clients who needed help designating an agent for an advance healthcare directive. “They were like a lot of people we see, without family around, and without resources to know that they should do this. But by the time we left, they were smiling, and we knew we had helped them.”
Professor Yvonne Troya worked with Fang in the clinic this past year and took her on as a summer intern. Troya says that she’s been amazed at Fang’s diverse skills, from her enthusiasm for legal research, to her re-organization of the clinic library, to her facility with tech. Fang’s undergraduate training in computer science at Hong Kong University prepared her to assist the clinic’s transition to a new case management system. “Jacklyn is a dynamo,” Troya said. “She’s shown impressive initiative and often asks probing questions as she attempts to dig deeper into issues.”
Before law school, Fang interned with the Service Quality Wing of the Hong Kong Police and then worked as a systems engineer with Nokia in Hangzhou. In the research and development lab, she tested networks for the now common LTE Smartphone. Managers would call on her to translate high level meetings with English-speaking executives. But when she watched the company’s under-prepared legal team go through a difficult merger with Motorola, she became motivated to study law.
Her quest to get to UC Hastings required persistence. First, she had to complete pre-law coursework at Foothill College. Then her application was nearly disqualified because Hurricane Irene washed away an LSAT reporting facility in November of 2012, delaying her scores. Finally, she was placed on the school's waitlist. But her heartfelt letter to the Dean worked, and she enrolled last fall.
When she’s not working at the MLPS clinic, she’s helping another professor create a database, or practicing taekwondo (she’s a black belt.) During the school year she loves working as a student photographer for the Communications department. “I go to lots of events and everyone knows me now because I’ve got my camera,” she said.
And at age 26, the item at the top of her to-do list is strikingly mature. “I tell people to set up advance healthcare directives all the time, so I really should get around to mine,” she admitted.