Made in honor of Tsai's father, the late Dr. Paul C. Tsai, (LL.M '54, J.S.D. '57), the gift will bolster the center's efforts to advance legal reforms in China and boost understanding of that country in the United States. The center works with top experts at Chinese universities, in government, and in civil society on issues such as judicial reform, administrative and regulatory reform, and public interest law. It also works to improve U.S.-China relations by bringing together former senior government officials from both countries to address a broad range of economic, security, and political issues. In recognition of the gift, the center will be renamed the Paul Tsai China Center.
Paul Tsai, a native of Huzhou in Zhejiang Province, grew up in Shanghai and moved to Taiwan in 1948. He attended Yale in 1953, and in 1957 became the first-ever graduate student from Taiwan to receive a J.S.D. degree from Yale Law School. After returning to Taiwan, Tsai played an important role in helping to integrate that country into the global economy and in the development of policies and laws that contributed to Taiwan's subsequent economic growth. Serving in various key government positions — including general counsel of the Foreign Exchange & Trade Commission, director of the Law Revision Planning Group, general counsel of the Council for United States Aid, and counsellor of the Council for International Economic Cooperation and Development — he helped draft the Statute for the Encouragement of Investment and the Secured Transactions Act. In recognition of his civil service, Tsai received the President's Award for Outstanding Performance in Government Services in 1963.
Joe Tsai continued the family legal tradition, graduating from Yale Law School in 1990 and practicing with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City as an associate in the firm's tax group. In 1995, he moved to Hong Kong to begin a career in investment management with the Asian office of Investor AB, the Swedish industrial holding company. In 1999, he joined Jack Ma as one of the founding members of the Chinese Internet company Alibaba, where he serves as executive vice chair of the Alibaba Group and serves on the company's board of directors.
"This is a sterling moment for Yale Law School. Our remarkable alumnus Joe Tsai has given an exceptional gift in honor of his father Paul Tsai, whose life and career exemplify the very best of our law school's traditions," said Yale Law School dean Robert Post. "Joe's generous gift honoring his father’s legacy eloquently evidences the special place of the Tsai family in the history of Yale Law School, and we are immensely grateful. Under Professor Paul Gewirtz's inspiring leadership, the Paul Tsai China Center will continue its important work at the forefront of the United States’ engagement with China. This gift, its honoree, its donor, and the work of the center are a source of great pride for us."