The San Diego Law Library Justice Foundation presented the Bernard E. Witkin Award for Excellence in Legal Education to Thomas Jefferson School of Law Professor William Slomanson, at the San Diego County Law Library Foundation gala on October 8, 2015. The Witkin Award was presented to honor prominent members of the San Diego legal community for “civic leadership and excellence in teaching, practice, enactment, or adjudication of the law.”
Professor Slomanson was nominated by federal Judge Victor Bianchini, who has taught Evidence at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Professor Slomanson was introduced by federal judge Anthony Battaglia, who lectures each semester in the skills portion of Professor Slomanson’s civil procedure classes. Vice Dean Linda Keller and Professor Thomas Golden joined the Slomanson family at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law table.
The Justice Foundation’s description of Professor Slomanson’s achievements is as follows:
Professor Bill Slomanson received his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. He then graduated from the Naval Officer’s Candidate School in Newport, R.I. He received the Navy Achievement Medal for his service in Viet Nam. Bill subsequently earned his J.D. from the California Western School of Law, and his LL.M. from Columbia University School of Law. After practicing insurance defense law in Los Angeles, he commenced service on the Thomas Jefferson School of Law faculty.
Bill has served as editor or chair in a number of national or local organizations. He has taught courses or delivered lectures in 19 countries. His scholarly output includes 162 publications and 1,900 citations to his work. He has authored, co-authored, or edited 25 books, including 5 editions of his West casebook (with Hastings co-authors), 5 editions of his West Nutshell, and 5 editions of his Jones-McClure practitioner’s treatise (with co-editors)—all in California Civil Procedure.
Bill’s awards include the 2015 Uncommon Individual Award, by the Uncommon Individual Foundation, for his pioneering work with blended print and electronic learning. He has earned 11 teaching awards from the students of Thomas Jefferson School of Law—the latest occurring in 2015. He was nominated by the faculty to represent TJSL in the national Teaching Institute’s 2011 What the Best Law Teachers Do competition. He also received the Pristina University President’s Medal for Contributions to the University, where he is a Visiting Professor.
Bill has officiated at the weddings of nine Thomas Jefferson students or graduates.
Upon hearing about this honor, Professor Slomanson commented that “this award is especially meaningful, because I serve on an incredibly talented teaching faculty at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law—an institution which is also well-known for its scholarly output.” Professor Slomanson’s colleagues share his sentiments. For example: Thomas Guernsey, President and Dean: “What great news and justified recognition for excellence in legal education. You make the school proud.” Prof. Randy Grossman: “I am so happy you will be continuing your stellar career at TJSL after retirement. I hope some of the outpouring of emails congratulating you remind you what a valued “institution” (and I mean that in an utmost sincere and positive way) that you are at TJSL and the 10’s of 1000’s of student’s lives you have so positively affected, including yours truly. Thank you Professor Slomanson.” Prof. Maureen Markey: “I second everyone’s comments about you Bill. You are a dynamite teacher, an outstanding scholar, and a wonderful colleague. This award could not have been given to anyone more deserving!!” Prof. David Froman: “Congratulations for being selected for the 2015 Witkin Award for Excellence in Legal Education! I am not surprised. This is a well-deserved honor for an outstanding teacher and a great guy!” Prof. Dick Scott: “Congratulations to Bill for all he does on the formal education scene plus all on the wider scale of direct work with students, publications (and we know they are marvelous) as well as institutional service and support.”
The other Witkin awardees were The Honorable Joel Pressman, Judge of the Superior Court, for Excellence in the Adjudication of the Law; Judy Clarke, Esq., for Excellence in the Practice of Law; and Amy Fitzpatrick, Esq., for Excellence in Civic Leadership and Philanthropy. A scene from the movie Pulp Fiction was played during the introduction of Ms. Clarke: “You mean you’re bringing in The Wolf?...That’s all you had to say!” When introducing Professor Slomanson, Judge Battaglia—with advice from Thomas Jefferson Law graduates Lorena and Michael Slomanson—invoked the movie The Big Lebowski—to which Slomanson rejoined: “They may be bringing in The Wolf, but The Dude Abides!”