Arizona Alliance of Black

School Educators

Dean Willrich received her Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and History from the University of Texas at Arlington. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C. She received her Master’s Degree in Human Services-Community Psychology from Springfield College, MA

Dean Willrich is licensed to practice law in Texas and Arizona. She is a member of the District Courts for the Northern District of Texas and Arizona. She is also admitted to the 5th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals. Dean Willrich provides pro bono counsel and advice to the residents of the Salvation Army Domestic Violence Shelter and Save the Family of Mesa, Arizona, where she supervises clinical students. 

She serves on the following boards and commissions:  The Commission on Minorities in the Judiciary, the Arizona Disciplinary Commission, the Arizona Board of Governors, the Maricopa County Bar Board of Directors, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, and the ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health.

Dean Willrich has received many educational, community, and professional awards for her professional work, both locally and nationally.  In 1999, she was appointed by Governor Jane Dee Hull as the first African American female to serve as a judge for the Superior Court of Arizona.  In 2012 she received the prestigious Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity John J. MacAulay Legal Educator Award based on a lifetime of dedication to the principles and ideals of integrity, compassion, courage and professional service.  In 2014, she received the Jurisprudence Living History Award from The Links, Inc., Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and the Gamma Mu Boule for her service to Arizona and the local legal community.  In 2015, Professor Willrich was selected as the American Bar Association Family Law Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Association and a Commissioner on the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. In 2016, Professor Willrich was recognized as one of the top 50 pro bono lawyers in the State of Arizona by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education.  

Hon. Penny Ladell Willrich (Retired)
Interim Dean  & Professor of Law
Arizona Summit School of Law
2012 John J. McAulay Legal Educator