Michael Helfand is an associate professor at Pepperdine University School of Law and
associate director of the Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies. 

He received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 2007 and his Ph.D. in Political Science from
Yale University in 2009. 

Professor Helfand joined the Pepperdine Law faculty in 2010 where he has taught
Contracts, Arbitration Law, and seminars in Law and Religion as well as Multiculturalism
and the Law. 

Professor Helfand’s primary research interests are law and religion, arbitration,
contracts, civil rights, and constitutional law, focusing on the intersection of private
law and religion in contexts such as religious arbitration, religious contracts and
religious torts. Professor Helfand’s articles have appeared in a variety of journals,
including the New York University Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Boston University Law
Review, George Mason Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional
Law, William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, and Journal of Law & Religion. 

Prior to joining the Pepperdine law faculty in 2010, Professor Helfand was an associate
at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, where his practice focused on complex commercial
litigation. Before entering private practice, Professor Helfand clerked for the Honorable
Julia Smith Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. 

Law Review Publications


Arbitration's Counter-Narrative: The Religious Arbitration Paradigm, Yale Law Journal (2015)

Arbitration theory and doctrine is dominated by an overarching narrative that conceptualizes arbitration as an...



The Challenge of Co-Religionist Commerce (with Barak D. Richman), Duke Law Journal (2015)

This Article addresses the rise of “co-religionist commerce” in the United States—that is, the explosion...



Religious Institutionalism, Implied Consent and the Value of Voluntarism, Southern California Law Review (2014)

Increasingly, clashes between the demands of law and aspirations of religion center on the legal...



Litigating Religion, Boston University Law Review (2013)

This article considers how parties should resolve disputes that turn on religious doctrine and practice...



Religion's Footnote Four: Church Autonomy as Arbitration, Minnesota Law Review (2013)

While the Supreme Court’s decision in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC has been hailed as an unequivocal...



Other Academic Publications


Between Law and Religion: Procedural Challenges to Religious Arbitration Awards, Chicago-Kent Law Review (2014)

This Essay presented at the Sharia and Halakha in America Conference explores the unique status...



Beit Din's Gap-Filling Function: Using Beit Din to Protect Your Client (2014)

This article considers how rabbinical courts play an important gap-filling role by providing parties with...



A Liberalism of Sincerity: The Role of Religion in the Public Square, Journal of Law, Religion and State (2013)

This article considers the extent to which the liberal nation-state ought to accommodate religious practices...



What is a "Church"?: Implied Consent and the Contraception Mandate, Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues (2013)

This Article considers the “religious employer” exception to the “contraception mandate” – that is, the...



Purpose, Precedent, and Politics: Why Concepcion Covers Less than You Think, Yearbook on Arbitration & Mediation (2012)

This article sketches some possible limitations on the impact AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion will have...


Expert Testimony

Popular Press



Panelist, “The Current Clash”, Conference on Religious Accommodation in the Age of Civil Rights, Harvard Law School (2014)

Speaker, "Enforcing Co-Religionist Commerce", Fifth Annual Religious Legal Theory Conference, Emory University School of Law (2014)

Speaker, "Enforcing Co-Religionist Commerce", Faculty Workshop, Whittier Law School (2014)

Speaker and Panelist, Interfaith Program on “Religion and Politics: Power and Empowerment”, Faith and Global Engagement, Hong Kong University (2014)