Chang l-lin was a chief secretary to Yuan Shih-kai (then Viceroy of Chihli) in 1902 and assisted him in the reorganization of the Chihli educational system along modern lines.
From 1907 to 1911 he worked as a secretary to the Governor of Kiangsu and that of Chekiang. Mr. Chang became a chief of the secretariate of the President's Office in 1912 and concurrently chief of the bureau of high confidence in the Cabinet in 1914.
Between 1915 and 1916 Chang l-lin was a Minister of Education, from 1917 to 1918 - chief secretary to President Feng Kuo-chang, 1918-1922 - adviser to the President Hsu Shih-chang. In 1921 he became a member of the Kiangsu provincial assembly. Then he was engaged in legal practice at Soochow.