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Michael A. Helfand, Ph.D. - Pepperdine School of Law

Michael A. Helfand, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Faculty and Research

Professor of Law
Co-Director, Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies

E-mail: michael.helfand@pepperdine.edu

Pepperdine School of Law
24255 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90263

Faculty Support Services: (310) 506-4676

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 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 associate director of the Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies at Pepperdine University 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 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.

Areas of Expertise

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


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

Scholarship & Activities

Key Works

  • Michael A. Helfand (ed.), NEGOTIATING STATE AND NON-STATE LAW: THE CHALLENGE OF GLOBAL AND LOCAL LEGAL PLURALISM (Cambridge University Press, 2015) WorldCat
  • Michael A. Helfand, Identifying Substantial Burdens, 2016 U. ILL. L. REV. 1771 (2016) SSRNHeinOnline
  • Michael A. Helfand & Barak D. Richman, The Challenge of Co-Religionist Commerce, 64 DUKE L.J. 769 (2015) SSRN HeinOnline
  • Michael A. Helfand, Arbitration's Counter-Narrative: The Religious Arbitration Paradigm, 124 YALE L.J. 2994 (2015) SSRN HeinOnline
  • Michael A. Helfand, Religious Arbitration and the New Multiculturalism: Negotiating Conflicting Legal Orders, 86 N.Y.U. L. REV. 1231 (2011) SSRN HeinOnline

Additional Scholarship

Related Links



Glazer Institute