Some major office moves are taking place around the law school this week.  Specifically, the clinical offices are relocating to the area that has been inhabited by the journal offices, and the journal offices are moving to the former clinical office space!  This qualifies as one of those win-win situations where it will be improvements for both.

One smaller aspect of this relocation has me particularly excited.  Our Student Bar Association (“SBA”) office has historically been in a deep, dark corner of the law school, and although SBA officers have enjoyed having a storage space, it really wasn’t much of an office–and, it surely wasn’t a student-friendly location.  But now, with the office moves, the SBA office will be in the glassed-in portion of the law school cafeteria (behind the curtains in the picture above).  This will provide a huge increase in space, but more importantly, it will put these student leaders in close proximity to the student body.

This is just one of many things happening this summer that has me excited for the year to come!

Breakfast Team Retreat

The new academic year is rapidly approaching, and this morning I have the pleasure of hosting a “breakfast team retreat” for the 20+ members of my team.

It is my honor to work with the following departments:

  • Admissions
  • Financial Assistance
  • Records
  • Student Accounts
  • Career Development
  • Parris Institute for Professional Formation
  • Alumni Relations
  • Communications
  • Events

One of the unique characteristics of our team is that we have significant influence on the law student experience before students arrive on campus and throughout the careers of our graduates.  It will be good today to regroup, refocus, and join forces in anticipation of the wonderful year that lies ahead!



Great news for Pepperdine yesterday when Andre Birotte, Jr. (JD ’91) was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate as a district judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.  You can read our press release HERE.

And while we are speaking of confirmation, we are very excited that Judge Birotte has been confirmed as the final (and keynote) speaker at our Launch Week for our new class of 1Ls!



The Finish Line

The bar exam begins one week from today.  The following is my last blog post sent to our graduates heading down the home stretch:

It is just about time to get this little examination over with and move on with life, how does that sound?

Odds are that you have prepared for this exam more than you have ever prepared for any one thing in your life. As a result, you will be relieved to finally get to it. It will (unbelievably) feel good to start those first morning essays!

So you are past the time for dreading “the bar” – just bring it on, knock it out, and get to the rest of your life!

A few final thoughts:

1. Enjoy a little packing and nesting this weekend. If you have studied at the law school, clean out your locker. When you pack up for the hotel, be sure to read over the “what you can bring into the exam” list and believe that they are serious about enforcing the list.

2. For those staying in hotels, I suggest arriving early. It gets a little crazy when a bunch of bar applicants arrive at the same time prepared to argue with anyone and anything, so I suggest beating the crowd.

3. Once you arrive, take a leisurely walk around the area to get your bearings. Both the walk and the acclimation process are good things.

4. Get plenty of alarms set (wake-up call, cell phone alarm, etc.) – no need to add unnecessary stress by oversleeping!

5. Walk in with confidence. There is a difference between confidence and arrogance, and truth be told, you graduated from a school with a track record on the bar that qualifies you to walk in the room with either one. Arrogance can get you in trouble, though. Instead, walk in knowing that you have everything going for you and are in the top echelon of people truly prepared for the bar exam.

6. Pay attention to your timing. You have practiced this all summer, so it won’t be a problem. Just stay on task.

7. Finally, just do your best no matter what. As a dad, I have always told my daughters that I would be proud of them for doing their best regardless of the final result. The good news for you is that your best on the bar exam promises to produce the result you want.

It has truly been an honor to tag along with you all through the bar preparation process. I look forward to seeing many of you during a lunch break next week, and I especially look forward to the swearing-in ceremony after you accomplish what you set out to accomplish!

You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers, but I have every confidence in you.

Yours to count on,

Faculty Q & A Sessions

The bar exam is just a week away, so today and tomorrow, as is our tradition, many of our faculty members are hosting office hours to answer any and all last minute questions from our graduates coming down the home stretch.  It is always so encouraging to see our faculty turn out in support of our students.  Although the office hours generally aren’t flooded with people at this point in the summer, it is truly the thought that counts.

Here is the schedule:

Monday, July 21:
10am-Noon: Real Property (Saxer)
10am-Noon: Wills & Trusts (Knaplund)
10am-Noon: Cal Civ Pro & Remedies (Schultz)

Monday, July 21:
1pm-3pm: Fed Civ Pro & Prof. Resp. (Baker)

Tuesday, July 22:
10am-Noon: Community Property (Popovich)
10am-Noon: Evidence & Crimes (Chase)
10am-Noon: Torts (Cupp)

Tuesday, July 22:
1pm-3pm: Constitutional Law (McDonald)
1pm-3pm: Contracts (Chen)
1pm-3pm: Corporations (Taha)


Opening Doors to Justice

I had the honor of attending an event hosted by OneJustice in San Francisco last evening with Dean Saxer, Professor Baker, and Parris Institute Associate Director Danny DeWalt.  The event was titled, Opening Doors to Justice, and the evening included both awards and the opportunity to donate to the work of OneJustice.  OneJustice supports a statewide network that brings free legal help to hundreds of thousands of Californians in need.

Drones in New York City?

Earlier this week, Professor Greg McNeal appeared on The Brian Lehrer Show, which is broadcast from New York City, to speak on the topic, “Is It Legal To Fly Drones In New York City?”

You can both listen to and read about this fascinating topic HERE.

Director of Alumni Relations

Jessie Johnston Fahy

I am pleased to announce that Jessie Johnston Fahy (School of Law & Straus Institute Alumna, Class of 2011) will serve as our new Director of Alumni Relations. Jessie will begin her new role on Monday, August 18.

Jessie has served as the Executive Director of Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles (“CLA-LA”) from 2013-14. Before that, she worked as the Clinic Director of CLA-LA and practiced private criminal defense from 2012-13. Jessie met her husband Brian Fahy (School of Law Alumnus, Class of 2009) while serving at a CLA-LA clinic. Both have a deep passion to serve those in great need.

Jessie worked in Pepperdine Law’s admissions office after graduating and greatly enjoyed promoting and working for the school that, as she puts it, “richly enhanced and continues to grow her personal, professional, and spiritual life.”

While at Pepperdine, Jessie participated in the Moot Court Interschool & International Advocacy Teams, served as Vice President of the Student Bar Association, was on the Spiritual Life Advisory Board, and received a CALI Award in Negotiation Theory & Practice. She also taught and continues to teach Bible study to juvenile delinquents at the probation camps in Malibu. Jessie graduated from Arizona State University (Class of 2008), cum laude, with dual degrees in Spanish and Psychology.

Jessie looks forward to bringing the professional skills she has developed since graduation to the school that she loves so much. She is excited to help develop a robust and thriving Alumni program that maximizes the potential of Pepperdine Law alumni, propels graduates into successful careers, and gives back to the legal communities in Los Angeles and across the world.

We look forward to welcoming Jessie to the team in August.

Home Stretch

The following is this week’s blog post for our graduates preparing for the bar exam (that is now only two weeks away):

At two weeks out there is a weird mixture of emotions – half panic, and half so sick of studying all day that you don’t care anymore.  But there you are, two weeks out, regardless.

I think the hardest I laughed all summer was somewhere around this point when a fellow studier and I had a conversation about what it would be like to get run over by a bus.  I’m not sure how the conversation started, but the gist of it was that the prospect had never sounded better.  We found this hilarious.  This is disturbing to recount now, but there you have it.

My general approach to bar study was the sheep approach.  Don’t overthink it.  Don’t strike out on my own.  Just do what I’m told and let the bar review course (I paid handsomely) lead me to green pastures.  And I did this for almost the entire summer.

At this point of the summer, however, once we made it to the end of the substantive lectures and headed into the home stretch, I decided to go a little lone ranger on the process.  What prompted my entrepreneurial spirit was the thought that I felt like I needed to review several subjects in a day instead of just one or two.  I decided to spend time with three or four subjects each day so that I cycled through all the bar subjects every three or four days.

It was a little jarring to create my own study schedule when I had simply checked off boxes created by someone else all summer long, but it was a good move for me to tailor the last couple of weeks to my personal style.

I am not suggesting that everyone should junk their bar review course schedule for the last couple of weeks.  No, the sheep approach comes highly recommended.  Instead, I just want to say that you should feel free to modify the final push to a format that makes you feel comfortable.  You are just putting the finishing touches on something you spent all summer creating, so feel free to make it your own.

If you do, just make sure you keep practicing all three areas – essays, performance tests, and MBEs.  Make sure you keep cycling through your outlines, notecards, or whatever.  Make sure you keep getting rest, nutritious food, exercise, and the occasional adult conversation.

You have survived the hardest part of the summer.  As you turn into the home stretch, take a deep breath and find a little bit of joy in knowing that if you just keep it up that you will soon cross the finish line and have reason to celebrate.

I’ll be preparing the celebratory hugs and high fives.

Welcoming Dean Hom

I am pleased to announce that Michael Hom has accepted our offer to serve as Assistant Dean for Career Development.  Dean Hom’s first day on the job is today.

Dean Hom earned his Juris Doctor from Notre Dame Law School in 2004 and his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the State University of New York, College at Geneseo in 1996.  While at Notre Dame Law School, he served as President of the Asian Law Students Association and as a member of the International Moot Court Team.

Dean Hom practiced as a litigator, legal assistance attorney and Staff Judge Advocate as a Naval Officer in the United States Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps prior to returning to Notre Dame.  He served on board the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65), USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69), and USS CAPE ST. GEORGE (CG 71).  He also served with Joint Task Force – Guantanamo Bay (JTF-GTMO), where he participated in detainee operations.  He was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal and Navy Commendation Medal for his service.

Dean Hom returned to Notre Dame Law School as Alumni Counselor in 2010.  He accepted a position as Associate Director in the Career Planning Center at Fordham University School of Law in 2011 and rejoined Notre Dame Law School in the Career Services Office in 2012 where he served until the Summer of 2014.

It is an honor to welcome Dean Hom to campus today, and I am excited for the good and important work he will do.


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