Peter Reich wins UCLA’s top teaching honor

May 24, 2024
Peter Reich

UCLA School of Law lecturer Peter Reich has won the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award for 2024, the university’s highest recognition for excellence in the classroom. Reich’s award is for full-time lecturers, adjunct professors or clinical faculty members.

The UCLA Academic Senate has presented the award to those teachers, who are non-senate members, since 1985 “to increase awareness of UCLA’s leadership in teaching and public service by honoring individuals who bring respect and admiration to teaching at UCLA.” Each year, only three such instructors across the UCLA campus are so recognized. In addition, awards go to members of the academic senate, and in 2024, UCLA Law’s Nina Rabin earned that honor.

Reich is the 37th member of the UCLA Law community to earn this campus-wide accolade.

In a message to the community announcing Reich’s honor, UCLA Law dean Michael Waterstone said, “Peter’s titles at UCLA Law are Continuing Lecturer in Law and Director, Law and Communication Intensive. But those hardly convey the true scope of his excellence. Peter is a cornerstone of our LL.M. program, and he is someone whom many of our students – LL.M., M.L.S., and J.D. alike – rely on, throughout their time at the law school or in the United States, to navigate the challenges and intricacies of American law, higher education, language and culture. Our LL.M. program is one of the real gems of our institution, and Peter’s incredible contributions are a key part of its tremendous success.”

Reich joined UCLA Law in 2017, and he teaches several courses for LL.M., M.L.S. and J.D. students. Importantly, he created the Law and Communication Intensive to give matriculating LL.M. students – many of whom are lawyers who join the UCLA Law community from abroad – additional language and legal analysis support. Each year, more than 50 students are introduced to UCLA Law and the American legal system, greatly smoothing their transitions into our community and their study and practice at the law school and in the United States. In 2023, members of the law school’s graduating class voted him Professor of the Year.

He is also a noted scholar of issues around the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly the region’s legal history and natural resources law. He has written many publications on the topic and has been awarded a Fulbright and other prestigious fellowships for this work. Reich is the author of the casebook The Law of the United States-Mexico Border (Carolina Academic Press, 2017). His next major publication is Public Law: A Casebook for Master’s Students (West, 2025), which stems from his M.L.S. course Public Law: Constitutional and Statutory Analysis. He has also led recruiting for the LL.M. program in Mexico and hosted members of the Mexican judiciary on special visits to the United States and UCLA Law.

Reich is a Triple Bruin, having earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. at UCLA. He received his J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law. He previously enjoyed a distinguished career as a professor and administrator at Whittier Law School. He is a former research attorney for the California Court of Appeal in Santa Barbara and lawyer at the downtown L.A. firm Parker, Milliken, Clark, O’Hara & Samuelian.

“For me, legal education is about empowerment, community and inspiring all the law school’s student constituencies – LL.M., M.L.S. and J.D. – to increase access to justice in their unique ways,” Reich says. “It’s very gratifying to receive this honor, on top of my being amply rewarded by the privilege of teaching at UCLA.”

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