Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

April 03, 2013
Professors Yokoyama, Heilman and D'Italia Receive Southwestern's 2013 Excellence in Teaching Awards

Southwestern is pleased to announce that Professors Dennis Yokoyama, John Heilman and Alexandra D'Italia have been selected to receive the law school's 2013 Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Professor Dennis YokoyamaProfessor Dennis Yokoyama

Professor Yokoyama was recognized for his work as First-Year Professor (a faculty member  who teaches first-year (or 1L) students). He teaches Civil Procedure, Remedies, Selected Topics in American Law and courses in the SCALE program. At the awards presentation, first-year student Michael Yadegaran said, "He makes each and every lecture a truly fun, interactive learning experience that involves the entire class...It may be his distinct sense of humor or his patience with students, but Professor Yokoyama is always ready to answer a question, challenge us with interesting hypotheticals, or push us to dig deeper and test our knowledge and understanding of civil procedure."

Professor John HeilmanProfessor John Heilman

In his first year at Southwestern, Professor Heilman has quickly made an indelible impression on his students, and he was selected for the honor of Upper Division Professor. He teaches Criminal Law, Evidence and Principles of Legal Analysis. Second-year student Yealee Song presented the award. "I can honestly say that Evidence is one of my favorite classes," she said. "Professor Heilman has managed to take complex material and explain it in a way that's straight-forward and easy to understand. He [also] sees us as individuals who have lives outside of law school and bring value to the classroom. I think that's what makes him so relaxed, and funny, and real."

Professor Alexandra D'ItaliaProfessor Alexandra D'Italia

Admired for the way she teaches Advanced Legal Writing, Refining Your Legal Writing and Women and the Law Seminar, the Excellence in Teaching in the Adjunct Professor category was awarded to Professor D'Italia.  At the awards presentation, third-year student Kate Greenfield said, "I truly have Professor D'Italia to thank for the improvement I've seen in my writing throughout my law school career, and I know many students who can say the same. She teaches us how to improve our writing on our own, instead of just mechanically following rules and implementing her comments on our assignments. This award could not go to a more deserving professor."

Stephanie Peatman, President of the Student Bar Association (SBA), said, "This year, numerous thoughtful nominations were received. The SBA was impressed by the strength of individual student observations related to the various faculty members and to learn of the many positive and significant contributions faculty are making to improve student learning and performance."

Established in 1997, the Excellence in Teaching Awards are designed to recognize that the day-to-day teaching of students is of primary importance at Southwestern. The recipients are nominated by the students who submit recommendations for the First-Year, Upper Division and Adjunct categories. The finalists are selected by the SBA Board, and the winner of each category is then determined by student votes.