Desmund Wu

Legal Research & Writing Faculty

Desmund  Wu

Room 6372, Law School

PDF Icon Curriculum Vitae



J.D., UCLA School of Law
M.B.S., Keck Graduate Institute
B.A., Biology, B.S., Economics, University of California, Riverside


Desmund Wu teaches legal research and writing at the University of Wisconsin Law School to two sections of first-year law students. He applies pedagogically-grounded teaching methods in designing every part of his class, from creating a syllabus and lesson plans to designing active learning activities to achieve course learning outcomes. He measures student progress towards those outcomes with graded and ungraded formative assessments and gives extensive written feedback on those assessments. He also meets with students individually about their writing.

Before joining the legal writing faculty, Professor Wu taught legal writing at USC Gould School of Law, practiced as a litigator at large law firms in Los Angeles and at Lambda Legal, an LGBT civil rights non-profit, and worked in law school admissions.  As an attorney, he worked on In re Marriage Cases and sued the state of Arizona on behalf of same-sex couples. He was also a plaintiff in Strauss v. Horton, the state challenge to California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.  As an admissions officer, he improved student diversity by collaborating with law student and alumni organizations to develop outreach programs for underrepresented minority students.  

Professor Wu graduated from UCLA School of Law in 2009 with a specialization in public interest law and policy.  He also has a Master of Applied Biosciences from the Keck Graduate Institute and a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Riverside.  He has previously served on the Law School Admissions Council’s Subcommittee on Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admission Process.

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.

Scholarship & Publications

Law Repository


  • Desmund Wu presented "Bias in Generative AI: Implications for Legal Practice" during the New England Legal Writing Conference at Suffolk University Law School on Nov. 2, 2023.

  • At the 2022 Legal Writing Institute Biennial Conference on July 22 in Washington, D.C., Professors Kim Peterson, Andrew Turner, Desmund Wu, Alison Stites, Ashby Fox, and Andrew Norman presented "What happens when LRW faculty stop being polite and start getting real about legal writing conventions they don't agree with?" 

  • Desmund Wu presented “Backward Design: Using Detailed Learning Outcomes to Guide and Automate Formative Feedback” at the Central States Legal Writing Conference at the University of Missouri Kansas City Law School on Oct. 23, 2021.

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