Faculty News

UCLA Law Magazine | Fall 2020

Mnookin Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Dean Jennifer L. Mnookin in conversation with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan in 2018.

UCLA School of Law Dean Jennifer L. Mnookin was elected on April 23 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, among the world’s preeminent learned societies of scholars, scientists and artists.

Founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock and others, the academy’s mission is to honor excellence and bring together “leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work together ‘to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.’”

Dean Mnookin is the Ralph and Shirley Shapiro Professor of Law at UCLA Law and one of the nation’s leading and most-cited evidence scholars. She has written extensively about expert and scientific evidence among other areas, and founded and is the co-faculty director of PULSE, the Program on Understanding Law, Science and Evidence. A member of the UCLA Law faculty since 2005, she has served as dean since 2015.

Dean Mnookin co-chaired a group of senior advisors for a President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report on use of forensic science in criminal courts, and is a former member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Science, Technology and Law. She was elected to the American Law Institute in 2011.

She received her A.B. from Harvard University, her J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in History and Social Study of Science and Technology from M.I.T.

Mnookin joined five other UCLA leaders who were accepted into the 240-year-old academy in 2020: Miguel Garcia-Garibay of the chemistry and biochemistry department, Mary Nichols of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and UCLA Law’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Pedro Noguera of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, Ann Philbin of the Hammer Museum at UCLA, and Lynn Vavreck of the political science department.

The academy includes more than 135 UCLA faculty members. Law school faculty members who were previously elected to the academy include Professor Emeritus Joel Handler, Professor Emeritus Kenneth Karst, Professor Seana Shiffrin and Professor Emeritus Stephen Yeazell.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be elected to the academy and to be in such outstanding company, both across UCLA and far beyond,” Mnookin says.

Other 2020 academy inductees include folk singer Joan Baez, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, filmmaker Richard Linklater and writer Ann Patchett.