California Western School Of Law building background
Michael H. Dessent

Michael H. Dessent

Dean Emeritus
Professor of Law

(619) 525-7070
Faculty Emeriti


During his legal career Dessent fulfilled a variety of leadership roles and has represented some of the leading businesses in the United States. He has been general counsel with multi-billion dollar corporations, legal consultant for major law firms, author, professor and practitioner. From 1986 to 1996 Dean Dessent took California Western into the forefront of legal education as a major law center, discussing the important legal issues of the day. Despite his record of accomplishment in the law, he tends to view his legal career as an accident brought about by his "having failed to beat out Ozzie Smith for short stop on the Cardinals." A leading philanthropist in San Diego, Dessent has served on the boards of many charitable corporations. In 1996 he took dean emeritus status and turned to full-time teaching. Click here to view his faculty biography.

Term of service 1986-1996

  • JD Northwestern University [cum laude, Order of the Coif]
  • BS Northwestern University [business]
  • Contracts I & II
  • Business Organizations
  • Enterprise Law
  • Internship Seminar


  • Michael H. Dessent, Enterprise Law Casebook (4th ed. 2014).
  • Michael H. Dessent, First Year Contract Law (Joseph Christensen, Co., 6th ed. 2012).
  • Michael H. Dessent, So you’ve passed the Bar - Now What (Blackstone 2011).
  • Michael H. Dessent, California Corporation Manual (2000).


  • Michael H. Dessent, Browse-Wraps, Click-Wraps and Cyber Law, Our Shrinking (WRAP) World, California Corporation Manual (2000).
  • Michael H. Dessent, Browse-Wraps, Click-Wraps and Cyber Law, Our Shrinking (WRAP) World, 15 T .J. Law Rev. I (2003), Cited in the American Law Institute's Draft of Proposed Legislation on Software Contracts.
  • Michael H. Dessent, Digital Handshakes in Cyberspace Under E-Sign: There's A New Sheriff In Town, U. of Richmond L. Rev. 943 (2002).
  • Michael H. Dessent, Weapons to Fight Insider Trading in the 21st Century: A Call for the Repeal of Section 16(b)., 33 Akron L. Rev. 481 (2001), Briefly cited and discussed in Prof Hamilton's casebook, Corporations.
  • Michael H. Dessent, Joe Six-Pack, U.S. v. O'Hagan, and Private Securities Litigation Reform: A Line Must be Drawn, Lead Article, 40 Ariz. L. Rev. 1137.
  • Michael H. Dessent, Bathtub Conspiracies: A Doctrinal Cleansing is Needed, 9 San Diego L. Rev. 4.
  • Michael H. Dessent, Citizens' Board of Inquiry into Hunger and Malnutrition in the United States, 8 San Diego Law Rev. 180.
  • Michael H. Dessent, Trustees Power: The Power to Sell Includes the Power to Option, 7 San Diego L. Rev. 22.
  • Michael H. Dessent, The First Amendment and Financial Aid to Religion: Limits on the Government's Conduct, 61 Northwestern U. L. Rev. 777.