UCI Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky Receives Bernard E. Witkin Medal from California State Bar


“Dean Chemerinsky’s intellectual IQ is off the charts, but he’s also a great humanitarian,” said State Bar President Craig Holden, who presented the Witkin Medal to Chemerinsky recently at the State Bar’s Annual Meeting in San Diego. The award is named for the preeminent legal scholar and writer Bernard E. Witkin, who was its first recipient in 1993. Previous Witkin Medal recipients include California Supreme Court justices, district court judges, attorneys working in public service and legal scholars.   

Chemerinsky is the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law at UCI Law. Widely recognized as one of the nation’s top experts in constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and civil liberties, and appellate litigation, Chemerinsky is the author of eight books — including the recently released “The Case Against the Supreme Court” — and more than 200 scholarly articles published by the nation’s top law reviews and journals. He frequently argues cases before the nation’s highest courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and serves as a commentator on key legal issues for national and local media.

“I am deeply honored to have received the Witkin Medal, named for one of the true giants in the history of California's legal system: Bernard Witkin,” Chemerinsky said. “As I look at those who have received this award before me, I am truly humbled to see my name with theirs.”

Earlier this month, for the fourth time since 2009, Chemerinsky was named as one of the Daily Journal’s Top 100 Lawyers, lauded for being “a preeminent constitutional law scholar … [who] has long been an icon in the legal community.” In January, National Jurist magazine named him the most influential person in legal education in the United States.

The UC Irvine School of Law received full accreditation by the American Bar Association in June 2014. A recent study ranked UCI Law’s faculty 7th in the country for scholarly impact, and more than 90 percent of UCI Law students provide pro bono legal services to the underserved in the community. In 2013 alone, students completed 10,000 hours of pro bono work.

Prior to joining the UC Irvine faculty, Chemerinsky was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008; he won the Duke University Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award in 2006. He was a professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law from 1983-2004, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. He also has taught at UCLA School of Law and DePaul University College of Law. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and B.S. from Northwestern University.

About UC Irvine School of Law

UCI Law, which received full accreditation from the ABA effective June 6, 2014, is an innovative law school focused on educating talented and passionate lawyers driven by professional excellence, intellectual rigor and a commitment to enrich our communities through public service. UCI Law is a collegial environment, and our faculty is comprised of accomplished, nationally-ranked thought leaders from around the country with a broad range of expertise. More about the Law School is available at law.uci.edu.

For more information about ABA Accreditation, please contact:
Office of the Consultant on Legal Education /
Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar

American Bar Association
321 N. Clark Street, 21st Floor
Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 312.988.6738
Fax: 312.988.5681
Email: legaled@americanbar.org

University of California, Irvine School of Law Contact: Colleen Taricani, Assistant Dean for Communications, (949) 824-3063, ctaricani@law.uci.edu