Belle Yan (she/her) is currently an Assistant Professor & Supervising Attorney at the University of San Francisco School of Law. In the Racial Justice Clinic, Belle trains the next generation of criminal law attorneys, while implementing the newly-enacted Racial Justice Act across California to rectify the pervasive racial and ethnic discrimination in the criminal legal system.
Belle’s professional training is deeply rooted in her commitment to indigent criminal defense. She previously served as a deputy public defender in Contra Costa County and Santa Clara County, conducting jury trials and litigating motions. She also had the unique opportunity to represent clients before arraignment with Miranda advisements, civil asset forfeiture litigation, and pre-filing/arraignment negotiation with the Early Representation Program at the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office.
Belle was a first-generation college and law student, graduating from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Asian American Studies and Political Science in 2012, and UC Hastings, magna cum laude, in 2019. She also studied abroad as an undergraduate at the University of Hong Kong.
In law school, Belle interned with public defender’s offices in San Francisco, Alameda, and Santa Clara Counties, as well as the Public Defender Service in Washington D.C. During her 1L summer, she served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Therese M. Stewart of California Courts of Appeal, First Appellate District. Belle also worked as a circulation desk attendant at the Hastings Law Library from her 1L summer to graduation, served as a research and teaching assistant, and tutored for the Legal Opportunity Education Program. She was involved with Hastings-to-Haiti Partnership, Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, and Hastings Law Journal.
Before law school, Belle proudly served her hometown as a felony trial paralegal at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and as a City Hall Fellow with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. She also volunteered as a board member to her neighborhood association in southeast San Francisco and had been appointed by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom to serve on the San Francisco Youth Commission.