Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

April 23, 2009
Professors Smith, Knipprath and Cohen Receive 2009 Excellence in Teaching Awards

Southwestern is pleased to announce that Professors Karen R. Smith, Joerg W. Knipprath and Laura Dym Cohen have been selected to receive the law school's 2009 Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Dean Garth said, "It is gratifying to see these honors going to professors who embody the kind of commitment to teaching excellence and student support that we so highly value."

Professor Karen R. Smith

This is the third time that Professor Smith, who has taught at Southwestern since 1982, has received the Excellence in Teaching Award. She was selected for her work as a First-Year Professor; that is, as one who teaches first-year (or 1L) students. She teaches Criminal Law; Interviewing, Counseling & Negotiating; Advanced Criminal Procedure; Constitutional Criminal Procedure; Defenses in the Law and several courses in the two-year SCALE® program. She is also a faculty advisor to Southwestern's Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP). Students praised her for her extensive knowledge of and passion for teaching criminal law. "Professor Smith's lectures are always engaging and challenging," voters commented, adding, "She cares deeply for her students. Whether for help in a course, career advice, or just to say 'Hello,' she is always available for her students."

Professor Joerg W. Knipprath

Professor Knipprath, who was given the award for Upper Division Professor, has been a member of the Southwestern faculty since 1987. An expert in Constitutional law, this is the second time he has received the Excellence in Teaching Award. Professor Knipprath teaches courses in Agency & Partnership, Business Associations, and Constitutional Law as well as several SCALE® classes. Students said that he is approachable, inspiring and "highly recommend him to any student who loves history and is eager to delve into the 'how' and 'why' we have the constitutional law we do."

Professor Laura Dym Cohen

This is also the second consecutive Excellence in Teaching Award in the Adjunct Professor category for Professor Cohen, who began teaching at Southwestern in 2006. She also serves as Director of the law school's Street Law Clinic and Community Outreach. She brings her extensive experience working with abused and neglected children and their families at the Los Angeles County Children's Court to the classroom. Those who voted for her said, "Professor Cohen is truly a philanthropist. She goes above and beyond the call of her duty as a professor, using it as a tool to help the general public in need. It is truly unbelievable the amount of time and effort that she puts in, in the hopes that she will help mold at least one youth's future."

Established in 1997, the Excellence in Teaching Awards are designed to reinforce Southwestern's belief that the day-to-day teaching of students is of primary importance. The recipients are recognized by the student body through a unique nomination and selection process, in which members of the Southwestern Community submit names for the First-Year, Upper Division and Adjunct categories. The top nominees are chosen by the Student Bar Association (SBA) Board and then voted on by students to determine the winners.