Law professor honored with excellence in teaching award

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: May 4, 2015

Justin Levinson
Justin Levinson

UH Professor Justin D. Levinson, one of the nation’s leading experts on implicit bias and a much-admired member of the faculty at the William S. Richardson School of Law, will receive a 2015 Board of Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching, the highest award for teaching at the University of Hawai‘i.

Law Dean Avi Soifer called Levinson a "superlative" teacher who constantly gets rave reviews from his students.  Soifer said Levinson teaches some of the most difficult subject matter in the curriculum, but that he also cheerfully tackles new material when the Law School asks.

“Over and over again, no matter what the subject matter, his students emphasize his ability to make complex subjects clearly understandable, his keen sense of humor, and his ability to be both down-to-earth and inspiring simultaneously,” wrote Soifer in his nomination of Levinson for the university honor after Levinson won the Law School's annual teaching award.

As an internationally recognized expert on implicit bias and how it affects juries and legal outcomes, Levinson has done a number of important empirical studies.  He helped to define the subject in a book he co-edited with Robert J. Smith, Implicit Racial Bias Across the Law, published by The Cambridge University Press in 2012.

Levinson is in great demand as he conducts studies, publishes articles, and serves as an expert witness, yet Soifer pointed out that the demands of the classroom come first. “His teaching, if anything, has been getting even better as his international scholarly reputation has soared,” wrote Soifer.

Levinson said he is gratified by the support of the Law School’s faculty, and of its amazing students: “As a teacher, I cannot think of a better environment in which to thrive. At the Law School, our students are engaged, thoughtful and dedicated.  Each day with them energizes me.” 

Remarking on the Law School’s faculty, Levinson continued, “Our faculty is world class, not only using the traditional measures of scholarly achievements, but particularly in the deep dedication to our students.  My colleagues’ love of teaching has been contagious.”

At the Law School, Levinson is Director of the Culture and Jury Project, an interdisciplinary and international research collaboration dedicated to studying human decision-making in the law. He is currently collaborating with scholars in China, Japan and Korea as well as within the United States.

Soifer noted some of Levinson’s cross-campus and international work, pointing out that Levinson is “broad-gauged in his community service and his cross-disciplinary efforts.”  He also serves as an advisor to the Law School’s largest public interest organization and to the Hawai’i Law Review.

Levinson currently teaches courses on Business Associations, Corporate Finance and Criminal Law. He also pioneered courses on Law and Psychology and Implicit Bias.

He earned a BA, with distinction, from the University of Michigan in 1996; a JD from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1999; and an LLM from Harvard Law School in 2004. Levinson and his wife, Galit, are the parents of two young daughters.

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