Holning S. Lau

Print This Page (PDF) Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, and Faculty Director of the LL.M. Program


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

Professor Lau teaches Family Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, Asian Legal Perspectives, Children & the Law, and Sexuality & the Law. He also serves as Associate Dean for Faculty Development and as Faculty Director of the law school's LL.M. program.

Professor Lau currently focuses his research on two areas. First, his work examines how jurisdictions around the world could learn from each other on issues of sexuality and gender. Second, his research examines how laws in the United States shape the experiences of fathers who are primary caregivers. His work has been published in both law reviews and social science journals.

Outside of UNC, Professor Lau serves on the board of the ACLU of North Carolina and is the organization's immediate past president. Professor Lau has also served as an adviser to several 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 and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy. He has also served twice 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 was 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

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  • 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)]
  • 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]
  • Formalism: From Racial Integration to Same-Sex Marriage, 59 HASTINGS L.J. 843 (2008). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein]
  • 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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