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Pepperdine Welcomes Five Distinguished Visitors to the Faculty

Pepperdine University School of Law will welcome three visiting professors and two practitioners in residence this fall semester. D & L Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor Akhil Reed Amar, of Yale University will teach Advanced Constitutional Law: Reading the Constitution, and D & L Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor Ellen Pryor, of SMU Dedman School of Law will teach a law and morality seminar and Torts I.

The other visiting professor is Beate Gsell, professor of law at the University of Augsburg. Gsell will co-teach Advanced Property Issues with Professor Peter Wendel.

The two distinguished visiting practitioners in residence are Mark A. Behrens and John G. Malcolm. Behrens, a partner in the Washington, D.C.-based Public Policy Group of Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP, will teach an advanced torts seminar. Malcolm, who was most recently executive vice president and director of worldwide anti-piracy operations for the Motion Picture Association of America, will teach copyright law.

D & L Straus Distinguished Visiting Professors


Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, is considered by many to be the most outstanding constitutional law scholar of his generation. He was the second youngest person to be tenured and given a chair in the Yale Law School's history. As an undergraduate he attended Yale College, where he majored in history and economics, won many prizes, earned a perfect grade point average, and was a star debater. Later, as a student at Yale Law School, he served as editor of the Yale Law Journal. Amar is the author of several distinguished scholarly books and law review articles, has been cited by the Supreme Court often and is one of the most frequently quoted academics in America. He was also a consultant to the popular television show “The West Wing," and serves on the Board of Directors for the National Constitution Center.


Ellen Pryor is the Homer R. Mitchell Endowed Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law; she also serves as an Associate Provost for SMU. She graduated from Rice University and from the University of Texas School of Law. At the University of Texas School of Law, she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Texas Law Review and received awards for the highest grades in Torts, Contracts, Property, and Civil Procedure. After graduation from law school, she was a judicial clerk to the Honorable Carl McGowan of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. While practicing civil litigation for four years in Dallas, she received the Dallas Bar Association’s Pro Bono Award of the Year, and the State Bar of Texas’ Frank Scurlock Award for Delivery of Legal Services to the Poor. At SMU, she has received the Don Smart Law School Teaching Award, the SMU Altshulter Distinguished University Teaching Award, and SMU’s United Methodist Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award. She received the 2006 Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award from the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial Insurance Practice Section. She is a co-author of the 4th edition of The Law of Torts (West), and Advanced Torts (West). Her writings in the areas of tort law, disability, compensation, and professional responsibility have appeared in, among other journals, the Harvard Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Georgetown Law Review, Journal of Legal Studies, and Texas Law Review. Since 2008, she has been serving as the Coordinating Reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement (Third) of Torts, and is currently drafting the portion of the Restatement relating to the liability of those who retain independent contractors.

Visiting Professor


Beate Gsell is professor of law at the University of Augsburg, where she holds a chair in civil law, civil procedure, European private law, and conflict of laws. She studied law in Göttingen, Aix-en- Provence (France) and Tübingen (1988-1993). Having passed the First State Examination in 1993 in Tübingen (Germany), she successfully completed the practical legal training in 1995 (Second German State Examination). Gsell was awarded of the degree of doctor juris, University of Tübingen (Germany) in 1997. Thereafter she worked as a research assistant at the Universities of Tübingen (1997-2000) and Bonn (2000-2002) and completed her post-doctoral dissertation in the area of product liability. She accepted a professorship at the University of Munich (LMU) in 2002 and was called to the University of Augsburg in 2003. In 2009 and 2010 she declined calls to the Universities of Tübingen and Potsdam. She is author of books, commentaries and articles on German and European Private Law with emphasis on German Law of Obligations.

Distinguished Visiting Practitioners in Residence


Mark A. Behrens is a partner in the Washington, D.C.-based Public Policy Group of Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. For almost two decades, Mr. Behrens has been extensively involved in product liability law, defense litigation, liability reform, and counseling in the prevention of liability exposure. He has served on the adjunct faculty of The American University’s Washington College of Law and is a member of The American Law Institute. Mr. Behrens has been listed as one of Washington, D.C.’s “top lawyers” by Washingtonian magazine. He has published numerous articles on tort and civil justice issues in leading national journals, including the Harvard Journal on Legislation, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, and Texas Review of Law & Politics. Business Insurance named him to its 2004 “40 Under 40” list. He is a recipient of a Burton Award for Legal Achievement and has received an award from several national organizations for major research contributing to civil justice issues. Mr. Behrens has been quoted in publications such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the National Law Journal. He has appeared on radio and television, including CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, Fox Morning News, and C-Span. The Insider Guide to Public Policy Experts and Organizations lists him as an expert in the fields of tort and liability reform and the judiciary. He has the highest ratings for Legal Ability and General Ethical Standards under the Martindale- Hubbell Peer Review Ratings system. Mr. Behrens is a member of the Product Liability Advisory Council, Inc., counsel to the Coalition for Litigation Justice, Inc., co-counsel to the American Tort Reform Association, co-chair of the Tort and Product Liability Subcommittee of the Federalist Society’s Litigation Practice Group, Advisor to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Civil Justice Task Force, and a member of the Washington Legal Foundation’s Legal Policy Advisory Board. Mr. Behrens received his JD from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1990. He was a member of the Vanderbilt Law Review and received an American Jurisprudence Award for achievement in tort law. He received a BA in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987.


John G. Malcolm is an honors graduate from Columbia College and Harvard Law School, who clerked for federal judges in the Northern District of Georgia and on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. From 1990 to 1997, Mr. Malcolm served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, where he was assigned to the fraud and public corruption section, and as an Associate Independent Counsel in Washington, D.C., where he investigated fraud and abuse at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mr. Malcolm received numerous awards, including the Director’s Award for Superior Performance by an Assistant United States Attorney. Between 1997 and August 2001, Mr. Malcolm was a partner at the Atlanta law firm of Malcolm & Schroeder, LLP. From August 2001 until March 2004, Mr. Malcolm was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, where his duties included overseeing the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, the Domestic Security Section, and the Office of Special Investigations. From March 2004 until October 2009, Mr. Malcolm was an Executive Vice President and Director of Worldwide Anti-Piracy Operations for the Motion Picture Association of America. Mr. Malcolm has testified over a dozen times before Congress on a variety of topics and has extensive media experience including appearing on or being cited by 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, NPR, CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsweek, as well as dozens of other international media outlets.

Meet the Pepperdine law faculty.