The State Bar of California has bestowed its 2014 Bernard E. Witkin Medal–which is given to individuals who have helped shape the legal landscape through an extraordinary body of work–to UC Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky.
"Dean Chemerinsky's intellectual IQ is off the charts, but he's also a great humanitarian," said State Bar President Craig Holden in presenting the medal to Chemerinsky at the State Bar's recent annual meeting in San Diego.
"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."
Witkin, who died in 1995 at the age of 91, had two years earlier become the first recipient of the award. The UC Berkeley Boalt Hall graduate ushered in a new way of thinking about teaching law and founded the California law treatise Witkin's. 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, the Distinguished Professor of Law and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law at the UC Irvine School of Law. One of the nation's top experts in constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and appellate litigation (Google him, you'll see!), Chemerinsky is the author of eight books and more than 200 scholarly articles. He has not only commented on the U.S. Supreme Court but argued several cases before it.