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Michael Helfand head shot

Michael A. Helfand

Brenden Mann Foundation Chair in Law and Religion
Co-Director Nootbaar Institute for Law
Religion and Ethics
Professor of Law
Caruso School of Law


Professor Michael Helfand is the Brenden Mann Foundation Chair in Law and Religion and Co-Director of the Nootbaar Institute for Law, Religion and Ethics at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. During the Spring, he serves as the Florence Rogatz Visiting Professor at Yale Law School. In addition to his academic appointments, Professor Helfand serves as the Senior Legal Advisor to the Orthodox Union’s Teach Coalition and a Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute.

An expert on questions of church and state, Professor Helfand’s work considers how U.S. law treats religious law, custom and practice. His academic articles have appeared in numerous law journals, including the Yale Law Journal, New York University Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, Washington University Law Review, and Southern California Law Review. In addition, Professor Helfand often provides commentary on clashes between law and religion, writing for various public audience publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Forward.

Professor Helfand joined the Pepperdine Caruso Law faculty in 2010 where he has taught Contracts, Arbitration Law, Jewish Law and seminars in Law and Religion as well as Multiculturalism and the Law. Prior to joining the Pepperdine Caruso Law faculty, Professor Helfand was an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, where his practice focused on complex commercial litigation. Before entering private practice, Professor Helfand clerked for the Honorable Julia Smith Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.


  • Ph.D., Yale University, 2009
  • J.D., Yale University, 2007
  • B.A., Yeshiva University, 2002


Forthcoming Articles

  • Michael A. Helfand, Contractual Commitments and the Right to Change Religions, N.C. L. REV. (forthcoming 2024) SSRN
  • Michael A. Helfand,  Using Jewish Law: Jewish Religious Liberty Advocacy for the Right to Abortion, 70 WAYNE L. REV. (forthcoming 2024) SSRN


Forthcoming Book Chapters


Book Chapters

Popular Press

Areas of Expertise

  • Religious liberty and discrimination
  • Intersection of religion and commerce
  • Church and state
  • Jewish law
  • Arbitration law


  • Dispute Resolution
  • Arbitration
  • Contract Law
  • Law and Religion