SWLAW Blog | Awards & Honors

Anahid Gharakhanian and Darby Dickerson accepting Armenian Bar Association Award

February 6, 2024

Vice Dean Anahid Gharakhanian and Southwestern Law School Honored by The Armenian Bar Association

Los Angeles, CA, – Southwestern Law School Vice Dean and Professor Anahid Gharakhanian was honored for her outstanding contributions to legal education at The Armenian Bar Association's 35th Annual Meeting on January 26, 2024. The Association also recognized Southwestern Law School's significant role in nurturing Armenian-American law students and its efforts to broaden access to legal education. 

Vice Dean Gharakhanian, whose career at Southwestern spans over two decades, has held roles as professor, externship director, and advisor to the Armenian Law Students Association. Her contributions to Southwestern have been recognized by the establishment of an endowment in her honor, which supports three annual awards: Excellence in Teaching Award, Award for Outstanding Staff Service, and the Gharakhanian Scholarship. She and her work have profoundly influenced the school's educational landscape and its students, including at the admissions stage. Her admissions work with Natalie Rodriguez, Southwestern Law School's Associate Dean for Academic Innovation and Administration, and Dr. Elizabeth Anderson is described in their Minnesota Law Review article “More than the Numbers: Empirical Evidence of an Innovative Approach to Admissions” and contributes to a more equitable admissions process, advancing the school's mission to help diversify the legal profession. 

Vice Dean Anahid Gharakhanian Recieves Award
Vice Dean Anahid Gharakhanian accepting the Armenian Bar Association Award

Upon receiving the Armenian Bar Association award, Vice Dean Gharakhanian shared, "This honor reinforces our collective mission at Southwestern to nurture a community rooted in justice and inclusivity. It motivates us to continue innovating in legal education and deepening our engagement with aspiring legal professionals from various communities, including the Armenian community." 

The Armenian Bar Association lauded Vice Dean Gharakhanian "in recognition of her affectionate care and devoted delivery of students to new heights, true meanings, and deep horizons." 
Southwestern Law School was commended for its “vision, valor, and exceptional institutional distinction,” specifically its dedication to empowering Armenian-American students and enhancing diversity within the legal community. The award acknowledges Southwestern's achievements in "turning mirrors into windows" for its student body, emphasizing the importance of inclusion and support for Armenian-American legal studies and professional growth. 

Dean Darby Dickerson and Vice Dean Anahid Gharakhanian Accepting Armenian Bar Association Award
Dean Darby Dickerson and Vice Dean Anahid Gharakhanian with their Armenian Bar Association Awards

Southwestern Law School's President and Dean, Darby Dickerson, commented, "This recognition from The Armenian Bar Association is a proud moment for Southwestern. It acknowledges our dedication to creating a diverse, inclusive environment and our commitment to the Armenian-American community." 

Southwestern Law’s relationship with the Armenian community is deep and longstanding. For years, the institution has supported Vice Dean Gharakhanian’s collaborations with the Armenian Bar Association, including forging partnerships with the Human Rights Defender's Office of the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh to host LL.M. students on full scholarships and initiating the Southwestern Armenia Fellowship with Armenia's Ministry of Justice. 

Southwestern believes that it has more students of Armenian ancestry than any other U.S. law school.