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Yiran Zhang

S.J.D. Candidate

yzhang at


Rethinking the Governance of Informality: Two Cases from Asia

My dissertation uses ethnographic methods to study two groups of labor migrants, Chinese garment workers and Filipina domestic workers. It foregrounds the perspectives of household economics and bargaining power analysis in understanding and empowering workers in the informal economy.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • Family Law and Political Economy with Professor Janet Halley, Harvard Law School, Principal Faculty Supervisor
  • Care/Work Debate in Feminist Legal Theory with Professor Jeannie Suk Gersen, Harvard Law School
  • Chinese Law and Society with Professor William Alford, Harvard Law School
  • Legal Realism and Welfare State Studies with Professor Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School

Additional Research Interests

  • Informal Economy
  • Law and Gender & Sexuality
  • Law and Society
  • Economic Sociology
  • Critical Legal Theory


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. Candidate 2016-Present
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M., 2015-2016 (requirements fulfilled, degree waived)
  • Tsinghua University, School of Law, China, LL.B., 2011-2015

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • Harvard University Asia Center Graduate Student Associate, 2019-2021
  • Graduate Program LL.M. Advisor Fellowship, 2020-21
  • John M. Olin Student Writing Prize in Law and Economics, 2020
  • Comparative Law: Why Law? Lessons from China, Teaching Fellow, Harvard Law School, Spring 2018, Spring 2020
  • Graduate Program VSVR Coordinator Fellowship, Harvard Law School, 2018-2020
  • F. Y. Chan Scholarship, Harvard Law School, 2017-2020
  • Victor and William Fung Foundation Fund Summer Research Grant, Harvard University, 2019
  • Weatherhead Initiative on Gender Inequality Research Grant, Harvard University, 2018-2019
  • Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies Summer Research Fellowship, Harvard University, 2018
  • Graduate Forum Coordinator Fellowship, Harvard Law School, 2017-2018
  • East Asian Legal Studies Research Fellowship, Harvard Law School, 2017

Additional Information

Bar Admissions: Admitted to the bar of New York State, 2018; Passed bar exam of People’s Republic of China, 2015

Languages: English, Mandarin (native), Japanese (beginner), French (beginner)

Last Updated: August 26, 2020