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Kejia Zhao, LL.M. Class of 2020, J.D. Class of 2022

Kejia Zhao, LL.M. Class of 2020, J.D. Class of 2022Shanghai, China

  • Plans to earn J.D. in 2022
  • Practiced corporate and civil litigation with 2 Shanghai law firms
  • 12 years’ experience as a government lawyer at the Administration Bureau for Industry and Commerce, Kunming, China
  • Bachelor of Law, Yunnan University Law School
  • Master of Public Administration, Yunnan University School of Public Administration

Kejia Zhao came to Vanderbilt to learn the skills he needed to excel in the practice of corporate law when he returns to China. While taking his LL.M. classes. as a merit scholar, he quickly realized he wanted to take a deeper dive into the study of American law than the one-year LL.M. program. He will enter Vanderbilt’s three-year J.D. program in fall 2020. “When I began taking classes in the LL.M. program, I saw many things I wanted to learn,” he said. “Studying for three years at Vanderbilt will help me provide better legal services to my clients in the future.”

Before earning his LL.M., Kejia practiced corporate law for four years at two Shanghai law firms. He had started his legal career in his home city of Kunming, in China’s Yunnan province, as a lawyer for the provincial government, researching and drafting corporate laws and regulations. Keija decided to earn an LL.M. program in the U.S. after moving to Shanghai to work with an international law firm and interacting with American lawyers and clients. “I wanted to learn more about how lawyers in American deal with legal issues,” he said. “I think the most valuable thing I learned this year is the rigorous analysis method used to figure out complicated legal problems.”

Several law firm colleagues recommended Vanderbilt’s LL.M. program, which Kejia chose because he wanted to study in the same classes as J.D. students. “The small-class teaching model and the opportunity to study with J.D. students made Vanderbilt very attractive,” he said. “The classes here are really challenging.”

He earned the Law and Business Certificate along with his LL.M. and plans to continue studying corporate law. He found his Corporations and Mergers and Acquisitions classes with Professor Randall Thomas especially helpful. “Professor Thomas is an amazing teacher,” he said. “His lectures address very hard questions, but they are so logical that very hard questions and concepts become easy to understand.”

Keija moved to Nashville with his wife, who took advantage of a free English language study program available to international students at Vanderbilt, and their young son, who entered preschool at the Vanderbilt Child and Family Center. “He likes the nursery school very much,” Keija said. “He improved his painting skills there!”

Keija and his wife enjoy life in Nashville and look forward to spending two more years here studying and improving their English language skills. “Moving here has been a great experience for my wife and me,” he said. “It’s a big city, so life here is very convenient, but it’s not a crowded or noisy city, which I like.”