Alison Yew immigrated from Hong Kong with her family as a child, and grew up in Southern California. In 1988, Alison graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. Alison worked at a San Francisco law firm for several years, before enrolling at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she earned her Juris Doctor degree in 1994. She has now been licensed and practicing law for 20 years. Most of this time, Alison practiced as a civil litigator with extensive trial court experience, and was a partner with a national civil litigation law firm.