Leo Yu

Headshot of Leo Yu, faculty member at SMU Dedman School of Law.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Legal Research, Writing and Advocacy

Full-time faculty





Leo Yu obtained his J.D. and LL.M from SMU Dedman School of Law. After law school, he joined the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, where he litigated a series of federal cases involving complex civil rights and constitutional issues. He then joined the City of Dallas as a Senior Assistant City Attorney, and he handled cases relating to land use, environmental violations, and public nuisance.

Professor Yu’s primary research interests are civil rights litigation and Asian American jurisprudence. As an educator who received legal educations from the U.S. and China, he is fully bilingual, and passionate about comparative law issues between China and the U.S., and the legal education for foreign attorneys in America. Professor Yu holds multiple leadership positions at the Bar. He currently serves as a director of the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA), representing young attorneys in the Dallas area.

Professor Yu is a frequent speaker and moderator on civil rights, equality, and diversity issues. He is the creator of Plead the Fifth (Cir.) podcast, a platform for attorneys to discuss the Fifth Circuit’s jurisprudence on constitutional issues and criminal justice reform.

Area of expertise

  • Legal Research, Writing and Advocacy
  • Civil Rights
  • Asian American Jurisprudence


LL.B., Dongguan University of Technology
LL.M., SMU Dedman School of Law
J.D., SMU Dedman School of Law


Legal Research & Writing for International LL.M.s
Perspectives of the American Legal System
Civil Rights Litigation


The Revival of Alien Land Laws: When Interests No Longer Converge (forthcoming)

From Criminalizing China to Criminalizing the Chinese, 55 Columbia Human Rights Law Journal (forthcoming 2024)

Piercing the Procedural Veil of Qualified Immunity: From the Guardians of Civil Rights to the Guardians of States’ Rights, 81 Washington and Lee Law Review (forthcoming 2024)

Home Is Where We Unite – A Look at a Classic Fourth Amendment Issue, 84 Texas Bar Journal (2021)


Podcast Creator, Plead the Fifth (cir.) (April 2021 – Present)

South China Morning Post, Op-Ed, TikTok is targeted in the US for being Chinese, not for what it has or has not done (March 2023)

Phoenix News (Hong Kong), quoted in Hundreds of Chinese poured into the Texas State Capitol to overwhelmingly oppose two proposals targeting Asians (March 2023)

The Straights Times (Singapore), quoted in When Sino-US acrimony spills over to home ownership in Texas (February 2023)

South China Morning Post, quoted in Citing security risks, US states move to bar Chinese land purchases and projects with China ties (February 2023)

South China Morning Post, Op-Ed, Proposed Texas ban on Chinese home ownership grounded in nothing but hate (February 2023)

Houston Chronicle, Op-Ed, Banning Chinese from buying land has a racist past (January 2023)