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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 an expert on religious law and religious liberty. A frequent author and lecturer, his work considers how U.S. law treats religious law, custom and practice, focusing on the intersection of private law and religion in contexts such as religious arbitration, religious contracts and religious torts. 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, Boston University Law Review, Southern California Law Review, and University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law. 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, USA Today, the National Law Journal 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. Professor Helfand also serves as the Interim Director of the Nootbaar Institute for Law, Religion and Ethics as well as a member of the faculty of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. In addition, he serves as both an arbitrator and consultant for the Beth Din of America.

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


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