One of the core values of the American Bar Association is the commitment to diversity that the legal technology department seeks to strengthen. From tech founders and CEOs to small business owners, various lawyers in every field have made a huge impact on law and technology. In keeping with the spirit of progress, the Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC) is proud to present its Diversity Spotlight Series. Our goal is to celebrate, promote and encourage BIPOC, LGBTQ and people with disabilities in the field of legal tech.
Min Yu, Principal Counsel at Apple
How would you describe your job and what do you love most about it?
I am a product attorney at Apple and I deal with products like iPhone, iPad and Macs. I love cutting-edge technology and the never-questioned pursuit of excellence. I love being able to wake up every morning with dynamic, complex, and interesting questions and problems – and then jump into a meeting with the brightest and best in the business to see how we can best meet those challenges. The way different stakeholders work together and challenge each other to ultimately reach a decision is exciting and satisfying.
What attracted you and how did you get into your current role?
As with many things in life, I wasn’t expecting to get a job in technology law. Staying open and not being afraid to take on unfamiliar opportunities helped me get into my current role. I began my legal career as a corporate attorney with a major New York law firm. After many sleepless M&A deals, I was ready to join a company that developed consumer goods that I respect and where I can support everyday business decisions instead of acting as an outside advisor on one-off deals or legal issues. A recruiter contacted me about a job posting in Apple’s Tokyo office, and I took the opportunity. A few years later I was able to carry out an internal transfer to our legal group Products & Services in Cupertino. Shortly after joining, I realized that this role really made me tick. I’ve always loved working with creative things that I could touch. After attending my first meeting to figure out the best way to launch a new feature, I was thrilled.
How has mentoring contributed to your personal and professional growth?
Mentoring has played a crucial role in my personal and professional growth. I often joke about how lucky people are. I have been blessed with people who have put the time and effort into helping me grow. Sometimes mentoring comes in the form of casual conversations or just simply bouncing off ideas with someone you respect. Still today, I am blessed to have a manager who really cares about how best to develop to take my next step in my career.
What has been the most valuable advice to you and the least useful?
The most valuable advice I have received is never to be afraid to take in and immerse yourself in something unknown or new. Sometimes your career takes you to places you did not expect. However, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy the opportunity. Even if you ultimately don’t like this role, trying something new means you’ve acquired skills or perspectives that can help you find another role that you like.
The least helpful advice came from a friend who once told me that I should never take on a new role unless it rewards me better than my current role. I never thought that was good advice. I’ve seen people lose opportunity or the ability to grow by focusing too much on money or titles.
Is there anything you do in your personal life and in your community (outside of the office and work) that you think will in some way contribute to your professional success?
Being a mother really broadened my perspective on people. I think a lot more about my colleagues’ family responsibilities and priorities and how this can affect their work and life. My striving to always find out what my children like and what makes them stand out has also taught me to really look at people – to see what makes them tick or what strengths they have – what helps me to communicate more effectively with people and to interact.
How do you think employers, organizations and communities can increase diversity and support diverse professionals, especially in the technology sector?
Businesses should focus on both diversity and inclusion. Everyone feels comfortable in the best work environment when they share their best self without fear of being judged. In addition, I think it is important that employers not only hire from a diverse pool, but also invest in a variety of professionals to take on leadership roles by encouraging them to seize opportunities that will help them gain greater visibility and representation .