Prof. Da Lin comes to Richmond Law from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she taught as a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. We sat down with Prof. Lin to learn more about her career path and the advice she has for current Richmond Law students.

How would you describe your career path to this point?
I studied Applied Math in undergrad, and I think that’s what first sparked my interest in law. I worked on a project that studied the effects of changes in the law on people’s and institution’s behaviors. It was a large econometrics study, and I participated as someone who was helping with the statistical side of the research. I just loved seeing the direct impact of the law on people in their day-to-day lives.

I graduated right after the 2008 financial crisis and started working at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That experience, working with a banking regulator in the aftermath of the crisis, really motivated my interests in financial regulation and corporate governance — how should banks be governed internally and how should banks be regulated.

My 1L summer, I worked at the New York Fed again in a legal capacity. My 2L summer, I was at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for a part of the summer and at a law firm for part. After law school, I clerked on the Eleventh Circuit. I then went to a law firm to practice for a brief period before becoming a Climenko.

I knew early on that I wanted to join academia. You have the freedom to go down rabbit holes when you’re an academic. You can chase whatever questions that come to mind. You don’t get as much freedom to do that in practice. There are things that I miss about practice, but overall, I was very glad to have the opportunity to become a professor.

Why Richmond Law?
When I interviewed, I saw that Richmond has such a vibrant community. I loved my conversations with everyone I met. Everyone was engaged. It felt like a close-knit community on both a professional and personal level. People were exchanging ideas on various topics. They were happy to talk about different scholarly ideas, and they seemed truly invested in each other’s work. I also liked the fact that the faculty seem to be friends. That sense of engagement and community was something I was looking for.

What courses are you teaching?
I am teaching Business Associations this semester, and I will be teaching Corporate Governance next semester.

What advice do you have for students?
For law school in general, I want to stress the importance of exploration. I went into law school thinking that I knew what I wanted to do and what I was interested in. But it turned out that some of my favorite classes in law school were in areas that were wildly outside of my field. What I enjoyed about those classes was that I was learning every single day. I knew so little about the topic that any fact the professor threw out was groundbreaking and thought-provoking to me. And even though I took those classes for fun, what I learned turned out to be surprisingly influential in my career. 

Now that you're a Richmonder, what have you found yourself doing the most in the city?
My husband told me recently that Belle Isle should be paying me for advertising because I enjoy going there so much, and I tell everyone who visits or plans to visit how much they are going to like it when I take them there.

Interview conducted by Alexandria Brown.