Phoenix School of Law Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Law Professor, Penny L. Willrich Will Receive Prestigious Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity Award

October 21

Accomplished Legal Professional And Educator To Be Honored Next Month in Scottsdale, Arizona

PHOENIX (October 21, 2013) – In recognition of her contributions to legal education and her professional achievements, Judge Penny L. Willrich (retired), Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Law Professor at Phoenix School of Law (PSL), was selected by the Phi Alpha Delta (P.A.D) Law Fraternity International to receive The John J. McAulay Legal Educator Award. This award is presented to P.A.D members whose contributions to legal education are based upon a lifetime of dedication to the principles and ideals of integrity, compassion, courage and professional service.

“We are honored to have one of our very own PSL professors bestowed with this prestigious honor on behalf of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International. Being nominated for this award by one of our students is a testament to Dean Willrich’s positive impact on the student body here at PSL,” stated Shirley Mays Dean of Phoenix School of Law. Dean Willrich was nominated for the award by recent PSL graduate, Hillary A. Ryan. In the nomination materials, Ms. Ryan shared a myriad of notable achievements and distinctions attributed to Dean Willrich’s illustrious career. Some of these include:

“Prior to joining the PSL faculty on a fulltime basis in 2005, Dean Willrich served as the first African American woman trial court judge in the history of the State of Arizona from 1999 to 2005.  From 1995 to 1999, she served as a Commissioner of the Superior Court.  She retired from the bench in 2005, but continues to serve as a Judge Pro Tem. Dean Willrich is passionate about fairness in the application of the law, access to justice and involvement in issues concerning families and children.  She provides pro bono services and legal education to the residence of the Salvation Army Domestic Violence Shelter in Phoenix and Save the Family in Mesa. Dean Willrich helped establish a program in which students at PSL can also volunteer their time pro bono time to domestic violence victims at the Salvation Army Shelter, including acting as friends of the Court to help residents apply for and obtain Orders of Protection and a PSL Court Watch program.”

Today, Dean Willrich serves on the Arizona Supreme Court Centennial Commission, Commission on Minorities in the Judiciary, the Arizona Black Women Lawyers Board of Directors, the Arizona Black Bar Association Board of Directors, and is an Arizona State Bar Disciplinary Hearing/Settlement Officer.  Additionally, she serves on the Boards of Directors for Community Legal Services, Arizona African Drum and Dance, the Arizona Advocacy Network, and the Board of Directors for ASU’s Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy.  Dean Willrich’s academic specialties are Family Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence and Mediation. 

Dean Willrich will be receiving The John J. McAulay Legal Educator Award at the 2012 P.A.D Biennial Convention held in Scottsdale, AZ on August 1-5th at the Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort. The International Executive Board of P.A.D will be presenting the award to Dean Willrich at the General Session being held on Friday, August 3rd beginning at 1:15 p.m.  For more information about the convention please visit:

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Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International is a professional law fraternity advancing integrity, compassion and courage through service to the student, the school, the profession and the community.

We are the preeminent law fraternity promoting the bonds of fraternalism and we are the leader in the development and advancement of professional ideals.

Bound together by tradition and our common interest in the law, we share these core values: Integrity, Compassion, Courage, Professionalism, Service, Diversity, and Innovation. For more information about Phi Alpha Delta law Fraternity, International, visit


Founded in 2005, Arizona Summit Law School is a private, ABA-accredited law school dedicated to diversifying the legal profession by advancing advocates and civic-minded leaders and serving historically underrepresented communities. The school earned early accolades from the ABA and in 2009, received the highly regarded E. Smythe Grambell Professionalism Award for its innovative approach to legal education. Arizona Summit Law School has also received top honors for two consecutive years from prelaw Magazine for its innovative approach to legal education. As Arizona’s only private law school, it aims to establish the private law school as a benchmark institution for legal education in the 21st century. The school is located in the heart of the legal community in downtown Phoenix, providing students with proximity and access to prospective employers and externship opportunities. For more information, visit


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