Born in China, Davis moved with his family from Shanghai to Washington, D.C., when he was young and his father was in the country as a researcher. The family made a further move to Canada, but Davis returned to the United States for college and law school.
From an early age, he had an affinity for the law. “When I was young, I liked to argue with my parents, so that was probably an early sign that I was destined for a legal career,” he remembers. “And I’ve always found the law intellectually demanding and interesting. Tax law, in particular, involves a lot of thinking and problem-solving, both of which are very appealing to me.”
As much as Davis enjoys the intellectual challenges of the legal profession, he also appreciates its applied nature. “The law is socially important,” he adds. “At some level, to be a lawyer, and not just a legal scholar, you have to be interested in helping people. When I first came to the United States, the American legal system was definitely an inspiration to me. To see the law written and applied the way it was, its concern for the disadvantaged and its openness to different viewpoints, was inspiring.”
Before joining S&C as an associate, Davis made a point to meet with every partner in the Firm’s Tax Group. What mattered to him, he says, were “professionalism, as embodied by the people working at the Firm, and breadth of practice. I made an effort to get to know both, and I liked both, which is why I chose S&C.”
Beyond his regular tax practice, Davis also uses his legal skills in the service of other initiatives. He was involved in a Firm effort to establish a 501(c) organization that is part of an international campaign to combat AIDS and HIV in certain African countries.