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That year, her parents divorced, and her mom
When she was 4 years old and living in Taipei,
Taiwan, Evie Jeang wanted to be a judge.
left for the U.S. to start over—leaving Jeang in the
care of her grandmother.
“She pretty much raised me and my sister with
her retirement money and whatever money that
my mom could send to her,” says the founder and
managing partner at Ideal Legal Group. “So, when
I was little, I would go to the courthouse and listen
to cases. I wanted to be the judge because I thought
the judge was really powerful. As a little kid, you see
this person wearing the gown and making all the
decisions. It seemed like everybody is nice to him,
At 12, Jeang reunited with her mother in Los
Angeles; and as she learned a new language and
made new friends, she became less like a judge
and more like someone one who might appear
before a judge. “People are always surprised when
they find out I’d gone to UCLA, graduated and
become a lawyer,” she says. “They’re shocked
Despite seeing their trouble kid end up on
the right side of the law, her parents were still
picky about her practice area. Her father thought
business law was the way to go, while her mom
didn’t want her involved in divorces. As a child of
divorce, however, Jeang saw herself as the perfect
candidate for family law.
“I wanted to make a difference, and encourage
people to work on their marriages. And if they have
to go do that, at least create the least amount of
damage to the kids,” she says. “When I was growing
up, it was a lot of damage on my mom and me.”
IDEAL LEGAL GROUP
Evie Jeang takes international divorce and surrogacy to the next level
BY ANDREW BRANDT
Increasingly, though, she’s involved in surrogacy
She specializes in international divorce, which
she says doesn’t actually differ much from the
domestic variety—although one of the biggest
issues she faces is whether U.S. courts have the
power to make decisions on property distribution
and child custody overseas.
matters. And increasingly, it’s not a couple looking
for a surrogate.
“I have a lot of single professional men [as clients],
who made tons of money in China with the new
money, and they don’t believe in marriage anymore,”
she says. “For them, women are easy to come by.
And they also want to protect the new money they’ve
made. So a lot of them are coming over, looking for
an egg donor and a surrogate mother.” The U.S. is at-
tractive, she adds, because of its surrogacy laws and
advanced medical procedures. “Everybody wants to
have U.S. citizenship, and having a child born in the
According to Jeang, the egg and the surrogate
should be separate to avoid emotional complications.
In a sense, Jeang is a high-tech matchmaker, bring-
ing together client, egg and surrogate. She draws up
contracts so responsibilities are clearly outlined.
Since surrogacy circles are “really small,” word
has spread quickly overseas about her U.S.-based
practice. It doesn’t hurt, she says, that she’s one
of the few attorneys working in surrogacy who can
speak and write Chinese. “And,” says Jeang, “I’m
the only attorney who actually went through the
When Jeang was 30, she froze her eggs, and
the story made The Wall Street Journal. It allowed
her to focus on her career, then have the child
when she was ready, which she did three years
ago—with a surrogate.
“I know the whole procedure scientifically, medi-
Practice area highlights
cally and the legal side of it,” she adds. “I might not
be able to find the man or the woman of your dreams,
but I can definitely find a sperm or egg donor.”
She adds: “Whenever people are like, ‘Family
law attorneys are the worst: they always break
people apart; they want people to fight so they can
make more money,’ it’s totally not me—I’m the op-
posite. If anything, I look at it and say, ‘Hey, I don’t
just destroy families. I also create families.”
“I have a lot of single professional
men [as clients], who made tons of
money in China with the new money,
and they don’t believe in marriage
anymore,” Jeang says.