Professor of Law
B.S., Journalism, 1978, Northwestern University; J.D., 1982, M.P.A., 2007, and M.R.E.D., 2009, University of Southern California; Member, California State Bar
Phone: (213) 738-6756
John Heilman brings many years of experience as a law professor, attorney and civic leader to the classroom. In addition to teaching a wide array of core courses, he developed and implemented exam writing and bar examination preparation programs for Whittier Law School, USC Law Center and BAR-BRI. At Southwestern, he will teach courses in the first-year curriculum and the Academic Support Program.
"Regardless of what subject I'm teaching, I hope to help students organize material, identify legal issues, achieve depth in their factual analysis and present their ideas in a coherent fashion."
Professor Heilman earned a Masters in Public Administration and Masters in Real Estate Development in addition to his law degree at the University of Southern California, where he was Notes and Articles Editor of Southern California Law Review and the recipient of the Shattuck Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Law Center. Early in his career, he practiced law in the private sector and in 1987 joined the legal writing faculty at Whittier Law School. In 1990, he was appointed as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, and since 1999, has been the Distinguished Teaching Professor of Law at Whittier. Over the years, Professor Heilman has taught courses in civil procedure, community property, criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, international law, legal analysis, professional responsibility, sexual orientation law, remedies, real property, and AIDS and international law. He also established the law school's summer abroad program on sexual orientation law. Since 1993, he has been honored nine times as Professor of the Year at Whittier.
Professor Heilman enjoys teaching his students both substantive subjects as well as skills for success in law school and practice. "I intend to expose students to the major concepts in courses such as Criminal Law and Evidence while provoking thought and discussion about some of the topical policy issues in those areas," he explains. "Regardless of what subject I'm teaching, I hope to help students organize material, identify legal issues, achieve depth in their factual analysis and present their ideas in a coherent fashion."
Professor Heilman is also a prominent elected official, having served as Mayor (seven different terms) and City Council member of West Hollywood since the city was incorporated in 1984. He was active on the city's incorporation committee, served on the first city council and was responsible for hiring initial staff and developing operating policies and procedures, as well as the crafting of landmark ordinances for rent stabilization, and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of AIDS or HIV status, one of the first in the nation. Professor Heilman has been an active member of the National League of Cities and has served on the board of both the National and California League of Cities. He is a past board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Local Government Commission and is also past president of the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Local Officials Group.