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Teachers of the Year: Pepperdine Law Celebrates Faculty at 42nd Annual Dinner

On Saturday, April 11, 2015, Dean Deanell R. Tacha used the occasion of the 42nd Annual Law Dinner to recognize faculty members nominated by their students as Professor of the Year. It was the eleventh consecutive year in which the honor had been awarded, and the announcement came on the heels of continued recognition of overall Pepperdine Law faculty accessiblity and mentoring.

"Each day I have the privilege of working in a vibrant community of academics, advocates, and high achievers," said Tacha. "I'm convinced that the Odell McConnell Law Center houses one of the greatest concentrations of bright minds and compassionate hearts to grace a law school anywhere. From among our stellar faculty, two educators were selected. We honor them for embodying the values of our school and modeling the qualities of integrity, commitment, and scholarship that we seek to instill in our students."

The 1L Professor of the Year was Michael Helfand. Tacha quoted excerpts from the student nominations for Helfand:

  • "…an incredibly lively and entertaining teacher who made my first semester of law school one that I will never forget. …found the perfect balance of both inspiring and terrifying me."
  • " … Professor Helfand's organization, clarity, use of media and the board, humor and analogy made learning contracts enjoyable and clear."
  • "Always concerned for student learning. Always available. Lectures are wonderful. Honestly, Professor Helfand made my 1L year."
  • "Brilliant and funny."

The 2L/3L Professor of the Year was Steven Schultz. From his student nominations:

  • "Very knowledgeable – puts in 150% every day and is always available."
  • "Professor Schultz made me confident in my work as a law student and, more importantly, confident in my ability to be a successful attorney after law school."
  • "I am considering naming my first born (male or female) after Professor Schultz."
  • "Not only is Professor Schultz warm, kind, and intelligent, but also incredibly open, insightful, and selfless when a student asks for advice on a particular problem—be it academic, professional, or personal. I like to think that my tuition here at Pepperdine Law has been worth it just because I've had a chance to meet and benefit from Professor Schultz."

Nearly 500 guests attended the 42nd Annual School of Law Dinner on Saturday, April 11, 2015. The event, which took place at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles, California, featured distinguished scholar Arthur Miller and a panel of guests discussing the evolution of the law school experience over the last several decades. Dean Tacha's remarks focused on the "changing arc of legal education at Pepperdine Law" and featured videos highlighting the Parris Institute for Professional Formation and the Global Justice Program's efforts in the Ugandan youth justice system.