Yinzi Gao
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MBA Student Fellow Project

Yinzi’s project explores the career barriers faced by Asian women lawyers who use English as a second language. It reveals these professionals grapple with undervaluation of their international credentials, marginalization in the workplace, heightened self-doubt, and biases from judges, jurors, court staff, and clients. However, rather than suffering silently, the legal professionals Yinzi interviewed demonstrate resilience and adaptability, developing smart coping strategies to thrive in a challenging environment. Having navigated the recruitment process, Yinzi questions the “fit” standard and the unstructured, conversational interviews often used by many legal employers. Such practice can inadvertently disadvantage non-native candidates. To foster greater equity, diversity, and inclusion in the legal profession, Yinzi calls for more effective diversity trainings and changes in the recruitment protocols of Law Societies and employers alike.
This image was created with the assistance of DALL·E 2

The Bamboo Ceiling: Career Barriers Faced by English-as-a-Second-Language Women Lawyers 

About Yinzi

Yinzi is a JD/MBA candidate at the University of Toronto. She also holds a master’s degree in Media and Gender Studies. Prior to Rotman, Yinzi has been a veteran journalist, gender studies scholar, and tech entrepreneur. She loves to listen to and share the stories of women from all backgrounds. Yinzi spent the summer of 2022 working as a Research Assistant for the famous gender and law scholar Professor Brenda Cossman at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, as well as a caseworker for the IAVGO Community Legal Clinic promoting workplace justice for precarious workers. Yinzi’s relentless pursuit of justice and equity for women in the workplace led her to pursue a JD/MBA joint degree to understand how the power of business and law can make the workplace fairer and kinder to women.