Yan Luo
  • Position-
  • FirmCovington & Burling
  • Age37
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Yan Luo

Yan Luo

  • Position: -
  • FirmCovington & Burling
  • Age: 37

Professional history

Although I grew up and obtained my undergraduate law degree in China, I started my career not in China, but in Brussels, as a regulatory lawyer. After more than three years in Brussels, I moved to the US and interned for the Federal Trade Commission, before joining Covington. I also practised in the firm’s Washington, DC office before relocating to Beijing.

What do you do?

Instead of focusing on a discrete area of privacy or cybersecurity law, I find myself working on many aspects of the broader “data law”. For example, I have advised Chinese clients on GDPR compliance, worked with US companies on data-related transactions, represented clients in relation to evolving data breach notification rules in China, and was part of the expert group advising the Chinese government on its effort to draft national AI standards. In a sense, I became a generalist in the broader data law field, thanks to the new China Cybersecurity Law and the increasing awareness of data privacy laws in China.

What drew you to your area of practice?

I like technology in general and am always fascinated by what technologies can do to improve our lives. Being a regulatory lawyer in a digital age, data law seems to be a natural choice.

Advice for young lawyers?

Understand the technologies and business models of your clients. For example, the largest US high-tech companies are operating in a very different market environment compared to the Chinese tech giants. As a result, Chinese companies have developed differently, and it is important to understand how and why different underlying technologies are used to build different business models.

What will data lawyers be advising on in 10 years?

I guess we will all be working on AI-related matters. But technology is moving too fast for us to say anything for sure.

Favourite restaurant?

Living in China where good food is everywhere and having the most convenient e-payment and food delivery apps, it is hard to name a favourite restaurant because delicious things are relatively cheap and convenient to try! I guess I have favourite apps, but not necessarily a favourite restaurant. Welcome to China’s digital economy!

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