Her older sister, Lyna Yip, who arrived in the United States with two of her uncles ahead of her parents, sister and brother, also had surgery to remove cataracts but emerged with better vision. The family settled in Monterey Park, a suburb of Los Angeles. Ms. Yip-Williams’s father became a wholesale vegetable buyer and her mother a manicurist.
Ms. Yip-Williams received a bachelor’s degree in English and Asian Studies from Williams College in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard Law School.
She joined the law firm Cleary Gottlieb in New York in 2002 and specialized there in corporate governance and mergers and acquisitions.
Reflecting on her acceptances to Williams and Harvard Law and then being hired by Cleary, she said at a fund-raising event sponsored by the law firm in 2014, “I never felt like I belonged in any of these fine institutions: a poor immigrant girl who wasn’t that smart but was willing to work hard, rubbing elbows with America’s elite.”
Besides her husband, who is also a lawyer, she is survived by her daughters, parents, brother and sister.
In a blog entry written last July, she addressed her daughters, telling them about the instructions she had left (from “who your dentist is” to “when your school tuition needs to be paid”) and the videos she would make (“about all the ins and outs of the apartment”).
But she also had blunter, yet inspiring, things to say, about loss and the unfairness of life.
“You will be deprived of a mother,” she wrote. “As your mother, I wish I could protect you from the pain. But also as your mother, I want you to feel the pain, to live it, embrace it, and then learn from it. Be stronger people because of it, for you will know that you carry my strength within you. Be more compassionate people because of it; empathize with those who suffer in their own ways.”
And, she wrote, “Rejoice in life and all of its beauty because of it; live with special zest and zeal for me.”