Five McGeorge School of Law faculty awarded Professor of the Year

Students in McGeorge School of Law’s Class of 2023 voted on the faculty for the law school’s annual Professor of the Year awards. The award recognizes faculty who excel in teaching and positively influence the lives of their students. Dan Croxall won Full-Time Faculty of the Year, Cary Bricker and Mariam El-menshawi won Part-Time Faculty of the Year, Dr. Marcie Paolinelli won MPA/MPP Faculty of the Year, and Nicole Kuenzi won MSL Faculty of the Year.

Professor Dan Croxall

Professor Dan Croxall is also a McGeorge alumnus, from the class of 2008.

Dan Croxall

Prior to joining the faculty at McGeorge School of Law in 2015, Professor Croxall, ’08, practiced complex civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense at the world’s then largest law firm, DLA Piper LLP, for several years. Croxall then opened the world’s smallest law firm, Croxall Law, to focus his practice on representing independent craft breweries throughout California.

Croxall created and teaches the world’s first Craft Beer Law class at a law school. He also teaches Civil Procedure, Global Lawyering Skills I and II, Professional Responsibility, the Legal Profession, and Political Science 175 on the University of the Pacific's Stockton campus. In 2022, Croxall became the director of the UOP’s Pacific Legal Advantage Program. The program is designed to expose undergraduate students to the legal field and prepare them for the rigors of law school.

“I am so honored and humbled that the Class of 2023 chose me as their professor of the year,” Croxall said. “I feel a special connection to this class and cannot wait to watch them succeed. This award is really a team award rather than an individual award considering that I learned everything I know from our amazing faculty. Each member of this faculty works extremely hard and cares so much about our students that they all truly deserve this award.”

Croxall has published law review articles concerning craft beer law and alcoholic beverage regulation with Northwestern University Law Review, Gonzaga Law Review, William & Mary Business Law Review, Loyola Los Angeles Law Review, Penn State Law Review, and Florida State Law Review. He also has a forthcoming article in the Michigan State University Law Review.

Croxall previously won the Professor of the Year award in 2021.

Croxall has a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and a JD degree from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

Professor Cary Bricker

Professor Cary Bricker has taught at McGeorge School of Law for over 17 years.

Cary Bricker

Professor Cary Bricker teaches in the law school’s multi-award winning Trial Advocacy program and leads our top-ranked competition teams. At McGeorge, Bricker has taught Criminal Law, Trial Advocacy, Experiential Learning, Principles of Legal Analysis, The Legal Profession, and Criminal Pretrial Litigation. Professor Bricker is married to Jay Leach who also taught at McGeorge until his retirement in 2022.

Bricker retired from teaching full-time in 2022, but returned to teach at the school part-time in 2023. During the 2023-24 academic year, Bricker resumed teaching full-time while the school launches a nationwide search to hire a new Director of Trial Advocacy.

Bricker began her legal career as a staff attorney with the New York Legal Aid Society, Criminal Division, taking 20 jury trials to verdict in four years. As a senior staff attorney with the Federal Defender Division of the Legal Aid Society, Professor Bricker tried 25 jury trials to verdict. She was an Associate Professor and Director of Trial Advocacy for three years at Temple Law School.

Bricker has taught at McGeorge School of Law for 17 years and has received many accolades for her great skill as a teacher, including being named the inaugural Noël Ferris Professor of Trial Skills, serving as the Co-Director of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution, and being honored as one of the “best law teachers” in the United States, according to the book “What the Best Law Teachers Do,” which was published by Harvard University Press in 2013 and co-authored by Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz. 

“Every year, I am struck by the talent, passion, and commitment of our law students at McGeorge. In the trial advocacy arena, I see them embrace learning the art of persuasion even when it means that they have to travel way outside their comfort zones to hone their skills,” Bricker said. “Again and again, they grow into wonderful trial lawyers who engage in active problem-solving with their clients and give them a voice in the courtroom setting.” 

Bricker has been recognized by McGeorge students as the law school’s Professor of the Year five times before. She was honored with the award in 2005, 2011, 2016, 2019, and 2022.

Bricker has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and a JD degree from Boston University School of Law.

Professor Mariam El-menshawi

Professor Mariam El-menshawi graduated from McGeorge School of Law in 2011 and serves as the director of the California Victims Resource Center.

Mariam El-menshawi

Mariam El-menshawi, ’11, initially wanted to go to law school because of a desire to help vulnerable and marginalized groups access legal services. She ended up discovering her passion for victim’s rights while working at the California Victims Resource Center as a student, which is located at McGeorge School of Law.

El-menshawi now serves as the director of the CVRC and as an adjunct professor. El-menshawi said that the CVRC is “one of a kind, not only in the state of California, but in the entire country.”

El-menshawi launched a podcast in Dec. 2019 entitled “Knowledge is Power: Victim to Survivor,” which enables crime victims and service providers access to information about victims’ rights and other pertinent information. The first two seasons of the podcast are in English, and the third season is in Spanish. The CVRC was one of the first programs to launch a podcast specifically aimed at this issue and is currently translating their seasons into Spanish as an effort to close the gap of information for the Spanish speaking community.

“I am deeply honored to receive this recognition. One of the highlights of my career has been teaching as an adjunct professor at McGeorge School of Law. I love engaging with students and encouraging them to think critically about our legal system, especially how racial, cultural, and economic differences impact a victim’s experience in the criminal justice system,” El-menshawi said.

El-menshawi received a Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) from California State University-Sacramento, and a JD degree from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

Professor Marcie Paolinelli

Dr. Marcie Paolinelli returned to McGeorge School of Law this year as a full-time faculty member for the MPA/MPP program.

Dr. Marcie Paolinelli

Dr. Marcie Paolinelli rejoined the McGeorge School of Law faculty in 2023 as a full-time professor for the Public Administration and Public Policy programs. She previously taught at McGeorge from 2015-2022.

Paolinelli has provided management consulting services to public sector organizations for over 30 years. She brings a broad range of skills and expertise in strategic planning, management analysis, business process improvement, implementation, and change management. She has led projects for a wide variety of government programs, including environmental protection, health, social services, transportation, and emergency management. In addition to her consulting experience, Paolinelli has held teaching appointments at McGeorge School of Law and the University of Southern California where she has taught graduate-level courses in management, leadership, analytics, strategy, and implementation.

She served as the co-director of the University of Southern California’s California Leadership Institute, an executive leadership and management training program for the State of California’s top-level managers at the career executive assignment (CEA) level. As a member of the American Society of Public Administration, Paolinelli has served as President of the Sacramento Chapter, National Board Member of the Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management, and National Council Member representing California. She was honored by the American Society for Public Administration, Sacramento Chapter with the Ross Clayton Distinguished Public Service Award for meritorious service in the field of public administration over the course of a lifetime.

“Receiving the Professor of the Year award is a tremendous honor, and I want to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to the MPP and MPA students,” Paolinelli said. “Their dedication to learning and their passion for what they do inspire me to be the best teacher I can be. Their commitment pushes me to continually improve my teaching skills and strive for excellence.”

Paolinelli has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis. She also received a Master’s of Public Administration and a Doctor of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.

Professor Nicole Kuenzi

Adjunct Professor Nicole Kuenzi teaches in the online MSL program at McGeorge School of Law.

Nicole Kuenzi

Nicole L. Kuenzi is an adjunct professor, teaching in the school’s MSL program. She is also senior staff counsel with the California State Water Resources Control Board where she advises the Division of Water Rights and the Groundwater Management Unit. In her role, Kuenzi frequently advises the board regarding matters of administrative law such as rule-making and adjudicatory proceedings.

Prior to entering state service in 2012, she was an associate at law firms in San Francisco, California, and Denver, Colorado. Kuenzi clerked on the United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is a frequent speaker on water rights law and is an adviser for the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law Fourth, Property.

“I am honored to receive this recognition from my students and to be a part of their educational and professional journey,” Kuenzi said. “I am inspired each semester by the wonderful diversity of backgrounds, interests, experiences, and goals that the students bring to the virtual classroom, which helps to bring the course to life for all of us.”

Kuenzi earned a Bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and a JD degree from Yale Law School.

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