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Helfand Selected to Present at Harvard-Stanford-Yale Junior Faculty Forum

Scholarship Honor Follows Student Recognition as "Professor of Year"

sampleProfessor Helfand (Debbi Cooper)

The image of scholars as figures cloistered in dark offices behind walls of teaching assistants is deeply ingrained in higher education. But even for Pepperdine School of Law, where scholarship and mentoring are discussed as twin goals as early as faculty hiring, associate professor Michael A. Helfand has been cutting a new cloth. On the heels of being named "1L Professor of the Year" – an occasion on which one student nominee described him as "...incredibly lively and entertaining ... the perfect balance of both inspiring and terrifying" – Helfand has been selected to present at the 16th Annual Harvard-Stanford-Yale Junior Faculty Forum at Harvard Law School on June 16-17, 2015. He was chosen on the basis of one of his most recent publications, Arbitration’s Counter-Narrative: The Religious Arbitration Paradigm, 124 Yale L.J. (forthcoming 2015). This will be his second time presenting at the forum, a rare accomplishment.

"This achievement would not have been possible without the extraordinary support provided to me and my work through my time at Pepperdine," says Helfand. "I simply could not be more grateful."

The Harvard-Stanford-Yale Junior Faculty Forum describes its objective as "encourag the work of scholars recently appointed to a tenure-track position by providing experience in the pursuit of scholarship and the nature of the scholarly exchange." Between twelve and twenty articles are selected by the forum committee each year. At the presentation, one or more senior scholars comment on each paper. The audience includes the participating junior faculty, faculty from the host institutions, and invited guests. The goal is discourse on both the merits of particular papers and on appropriate methodologies for doing work in that genre.

Helfand's article presents a "counter-narrative" for arbitration as not just a litigation alternative, but a means to resolve disputes in concordance with shared religious principles and values. Helfand posits that incorporating this counter-narrative into current legal doctrine would potentially unlock the transformative potential of arbitration, enabling parties to not only resolve disputes expediently but breathe life into mutually shared values. 

His 2012 presentation for the forum considered "Litigating Religion."

About Professor Helfand

Associate Professor Michael A. Helfand joined the Pepperdine School of Law faculty in 2010. He has taught Contracts, Arbitration Law, and seminars such as "Law and Religion" and "Multiculturalism and the Law."

His primary research interests are law and religion, arbitration, contracts, civil rights and constitutional law, focusing on the intersection of private law and religion in contexts such as religious arbitration, religious contracts and religious torts. Helfand's articles have appeared in a variety of journals, including Yale Law Journal (forthcoming), New York University Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, Boston University Law Review, and University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law.

About Pepperdine School of Law

Pepperdine School of Law, founded in 1964 and located in Malibu, California, is committed to serving students by preparing them for lives of purpose, service, and leadership in a rapidly changing legal environment. Pepperdine Law provides highly qualified students with a superior legal education through a combination of rigorous academic programs, meaningful interaction with faculty, and extensive clinical and experiential opportunities. The school prepares students for positions as counselors, advocates, and judges; as business persons; and as researchers, teachers, and philosophers of the law. 


Tom Inkel
Director of Communications
Pepperdine School of Law