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Yao is devoted to helping her clients in the United States and China bring their real estate, financing, investment and construction projects to fruition.

Yao’s practice concentrates on transactional real estate, financing and construction, often on behalf of clients engaged in cross-border activities. Her career spanning nearly three decades comprises a unique blend of experience practicing law on both sides of the Pacific Ocean as well as working in the public and private sectors. She serves as a strategic advisor to her clients by thoroughly understanding the challenges they face in real estate transactions, financing and construction projects.

Real Estate. Yao focuses on commercial and residential real estate acquisitions and dispositions, commercial leasing and establishing home owner associations in Washington representing developers. She also represents landlords and tenants in connection with commercial leasing transactions. In addition, Yao has experience in working with cooperative and condominium boards in New York City.

Construction. Yao negotiates and drafts the wide range of contracts integral to the success of her clients’ construction projects, including construction access license agreements, design agreements, owner-contractor agreements, subcontract agreements and construction management agreements. Her clients have included building owners, developers, design professionals, interior design firms, architecture firms, international hotel chains, food manufacturers, retailers, entertainment venues and non-profit organizations. Additionally, she often advises design professionals on state licensing requirements.

Financing. Yao has represented commercial banks and other lenders as well as borrowers in the negotiation of loans and various types of financing for real estate acquisitions and construction and development projects. Yao has also participated in reviewing investment funds governing documents such as operating agreements and limited partnership agreements.

China Practice. Born and raised in Northeast China’s Jilin Province, Yao is a native speaker of Mandarin. She attended law school at Peking University and later was a practicing lawyer in Beijing before moving to the United States. Her experience has included advising Chinese clients in their real estate acquisition and disposition, leasing, development and construction projects in the United States. Yao has assisted several U.S.-based clients with establishing operations in China, negotiating architectural design contracts with Chinese owners and registering trademarks in China. While living in Beijing, she also served as General Counsel to the China Commercial Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation.

Professional Activities

New York City Bar Association, Member

New York County Lawyers Association, Member

New York State Bar Association, Member

Community Activities

Benaroya Hall, Board of Directors

Washington State China Relations Council, Board of Directors



News & Insights


  • Washington, 2018
  • New York, 1999


LL.M., University of Washington School of Law, Asian and Comparative Law, 1998

LL.B., Peking University School of Law, 1987


  • Mandarin
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