Holning S. Lau

Professor of Law


  • J.D., University of Chicago
  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania

Professor Lau is currently on leave and will be away until the summer of 2015.

Professor Lau teaches Family Law, Children & the Law, Law & Sexuality, and Asian Legal Perspectives. He is also Faculty Director of the School of Law's LL.M. degree program.

Professor Lau's current research focuses on the regulation of sexual orientation and gender identity, grace periods in human rights remedies, and the ways in which rights discourses spread around the world. His scholarship has appeared in numerous academic journals, including the California Law Review, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Northwestern University LawReview, and University of Chicago Law Review.

Outside of UNC, Professor Lau currently serves as President of the ACLU of North Carolina. He also serves as an adviser to several rights organizations in Hong Kong. Professor Lau's public service has been recognized by various community groups. In 2011, the law school's Pro Bono Program named Professor Lau the Professor of the Year, and Equality North Carolina presented him with an Equality Champion Award. In 2012, Southerners on New Ground (SONG) granted him a Road Openers Award.

Professor Lau joined the UNC faculty in 2009, after spending two years as an Associate Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School, where he also co-directed Hofstra's LGBT Rights Fellowship Program. Prior to joining the Hofstra faculty, Professor Lau worked at UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law & Public Policy. At the Williams Institute, he served as a Public Policy Fellow and then as the Harvey S. Shipley Miller Teaching Fellow. He also served as a visiting fellow at the University of Hong Kong's Centre for Comparative and Public Law. In addition, Professor Lau has worked for the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, Children Rights, and the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton in New York.

Professor Lau received his J.D. from the University of Chicago, where he served as the Executive Topics & Comments Editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and served on the staff of the Chicago Journal of International Law. At the University of Chicago, Professor Lau was named a Stonewall Scholar for excellence in his work related to sexual orientation rights and was awarded the Ignacio Martín-Baró Award for the best human rights paper by a professional or master's degree student. Professor Lau completed his B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude.

Selected Publications

Show All Publications

  • Public Opinion in Hong Kong About Gays and Lesbians: The Impact of Interpersonal and Imagined Contact (with C. Lau & K. Loper), 26 INT'L J. PUB. OPINION RES. 301 (2014). [Document Link]
  • The Language of Westernization in Legal Commentary, 61 AM. J. COMP. L. 507 (2013). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein, Document Link]
  • Rewriting Schalk and Kopf v. Austria: Shifting the Locus of Deference, in DIVERSITY AND EUROPEAN HUMAN RIGHTS: REWRITING JUDGMENTS OF THE ECHR (E. Brems, ed.) (Cambridge Univ. Press 2012). [KJC5132 .D58 2013]
  • Grounding Conversations on Sexuality and Asian Law, 44 U.C. DAVIS L. REV. 773 (2011). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein, Document Link (PDF)]
  • The Effects of Legally Recognizing Same-Sex Unions on Health and Well-Being (with C. Strohm), 29 LAW & INEQ. 107 (2011). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein]
  • Identity Scripts & Democratic Deliberation, 94 MINN. L. REV. 897 (2010). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein, Document Link (PDF)]
  • Bias in the Workplace: Consistent Evidence of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination 1998-2008 (with M.V. Badgett, R. Sears & D. Ho), 84 CHI.-KENT L. REV. 559 (2009). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein, BEPress]
  • Human Rights and Globalization: Putting the Race to the Top in Perspective, 102 NW. U. L. REV. 2021 (2008). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein]
  • Pluralism: A Principle for Children's Rights, 42 HARV. C.R.-C.L. L. REV. 317 (2007). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein]
  • Transcending the Individualist Paradigm in Sexual Orientation Antidiscrimination Law, 94 CAL. L. REV. 1271 (2006), reprinted in 6 THE DUKEMINIER AWARDS 69 (2007). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein, BEPress]
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