March 13, 2014 – Professor Jennifer Mnookin, David G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law, will be honored with the 2014 Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is presented annually to a professor who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to teaching. She will receive the award at the 35th Rutter Award Presentation Ceremony, to be held at the law school on Monday, March 17, 2014.
Professor Mnookin, who joined the UCLA Law faculty in 2005, is a nationally renowned expert in the area of evidence, particularly expert and scientific evidence and the use of forensic science in court. She regularly teaches Evidence and Torts, as well as courses and seminars relating to expert and scientific evidence. Professor Mnookin served as Vice Dean for Faculty and Research from 2007 to 2009, and most recently as Vice Dean for Faculty Recruitment and Intellectual Life in 2012-13. Professor Mnookin is also the Founding Co-Director of the Program on Understanding, Law, Science and Evidence, PULSE@UCLALaw.
Professor Mnookin’s scholarship has focused on a wide variety of evidence-related subjects, including the history, uses, and limitations of significant forensic techniques like latent fingerprint identification, handwriting identification, and DNA profiling. Her academic writing has also examined topics such as law and documentary film; expert evidence and the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment; theoretical issues in evidence interpretation; and photographic and visual forms of evidence, among other areas. Her most recent articles include: "Confronting Science: Expert Evidence and the Confrontation Clause" (with David Kaye), 2012 Supreme Court Review 99 (2013); "Atomism, Holism, and the Judicial Assessment of Evidence," 60 UCLA Law Review 1524 (2013); and "Semi-Legibility and Visual Evidence: An Initial Exploration," 10 Law, Culture and the Humanities 43 (2014). In addition, Professor Mnookin is a co-author of two major evidence treatises, The New Wigmore: Expert Evidence (2004, 2nd Ed., 2011), and Modern Scientific Evidence (2011, 2012, 2013).
As a teacher, Professor Mnookin recently developed a new and innovative course in expert and scientific evidence, in which she combined in-depth traditional doctrinal and analytic learning with skills development. She collaborated with a colleague at UCLA Medical School to develop a several-week long simulated exercise that partnered law students with Fellows in geriatric psychiatry, who served as expert witnesses. Students learned to interview experts and to assess expert claims, and the project culminated in a substantial mock courtroom exercise involving direct and cross-examination of the experts. Professor Mnookin has also been closely involved in curricular reform efforts at UCLA, and spearheaded the effort several years ago to add the Perspectives on Law and Lawyering classes to the curriculum. These courses, which meet in professor’s homes or at local restaurants, provide small-group opportunities to explore non-traditional materials that shed light on law and lawyering, and have proved extremely popular with students.