Our Legal Research & Writing faculty draw on decades of real-life experience to simulate the practice of law in the classroom. They have tried cases, negotiated deals, argued appeals, drafted opinions, and edited legal volumes—at law firms, nonprofits, public agencies, corporations, and courts across the country.
Each professor brings a unique perspective on what makes great legal writing, even as they teach the same core principles. Since most 1Ls have different writing professors between the fall and spring semesters, students see firsthand the many ways a legal writer can tackle a problem.
- Legal Research & Writing I
- Legal Research & Writing II
Q&A with Professor Wu
Why did you go to law school?
I went to law school to save the gays! Right before law school, I worked at an LGBT think-tank called the Williams Institute that was at a law school. My job was to organize legal conferences that brought practitioners and professors to talk about cutting-edge issues of sexual orientation law. Those attorneys were the first attorneys I’d ever met because I’m the first person in my family born in the United States. But, seeing these people talk passionately about issues that were deeply personal to me made me think, I want to do that too. So I applied and ended up going to law school and loving everything about the experience.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in student-centered learning: the idea that the focus of instruction should be on students rather than the instructor. Research shows that students learn best when they feel safe, respected, and connected. One of my roles is to create this environment in my classroom so that students can connect with the learning material, each other, and the professor. Students also learn best when they are actively engaged with what they’re learning. While reading and understanding a case alone at home might be where learning starts, deeper learning happens by talking about the case with others inside and outside of class, explaining it to others, and then writing about it and getting formative feedback. Learning a new skill takes time and patience, so I like to tell students that I’m here to help, like a guide on the side rather than a sage on a stage.
I also believe in pedagogically-grounded teaching and I’m constantly improving on what I do in the classroom. I read broadly about teaching, especially from the education field, because I want to base what I do in the classroom on the latest research. The literature also inspires me to try new learning activities, assess the effectiveness of those activities at achieving learning outcomes, and then improving upon what I do year after year.
Share something about yourself that students typically never learn, even after a full semester with you.
I taught swing dancing for several years while still in college. That’s when I first figured out that I loved teaching. I’ve also played the piano since I was four years old.