Monthly Archives: October 2014

Yesterday’s Event


The Washington Post has called Senior Judge Royce C. Lamberth, US District Court for the District of Columbia, “a shoot-from-the-hip Texan known for taking a hard line against what he sees as government incompetence” and “a genial giant of a public servant.” Yesterday, Judge Lamberth joined Dean Tacha — former Chief Judge, US Court of Appeals for Tenth Circuit — for a candid conversation about transnational litigation.

Transnational Litigation


We are hosting a meeting of the U.S. Chamber Institute today, and as a result, the students are invited to a unique lunch event described above.  Professor Childress sent the following message to the students:  “Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the bench when reading cases? Please join two distinguished judges, Judge Lamberth and former Judge Tacha, as they discuss how judges approach transnational cases.”



I had the opportunity to share an update on our Parris Institute for Professional Formation at Pepperdine University’s Advancement and Public Affairs Annual Retreat yesterday morning.  The event was held at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.

After my panel, I left to return to the law school, and on my way out I had to stop and take the picture above.  I am sure that you remember President Reagan’s famous statement to Mr. Gorbachev regarding the Berlin Wall.  In my opinion, one of the neatest things at the Reagan Library is this 9 1/2 foot tall section of the Berlin Wall.

What a wonderful reminder of the human quest for freedom.

LRW Exam

Grades in law school are different than grades in other academic settings (e.g., undergraduate education) because of the historic (and now, contemporary) use of the forced curve.  It is a mathematical certainty that 90% of our hyper-successful students will not be in the top 10% of the class, and that will be a brand new experience for many of our students.

For our first-semester, first-year students, the majority of grades will come from three final exams that are scheduled in December.  Those three exams–Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Torts–will account for twelve of their fourteen graded units this semester.

The other two graded units are from the Legal Research & Writing (“LRW”) course.  LRW is different from the other three classes in many ways, including multiple components to the final course grade.  90% of the LRW grade comes from out-of-class writing assignments, including a whopping 70% from an Open-Library Office Memorandum that will be assigned this Friday and is due in three weeks (Friday, November 21, at 8:30am).

But LRW has one in-class exam during the fall semester, worth 10% of the final grade, and that exam happens to be today.

Today’s LRW exam format will be multiple choice, and will cover a variety of topics discussed and taught in class, including the American legal system, the weight of legal authorities, research methods, the principles underlying effective objective writing, and the Bluebook legal citation rules. 

So, today is the first graded exam for our 1Ls.  Although it is only worth 10% of two units, it provides a small taste of the weighty exams that are just around the corner.


SBA Deans Forum

Once or twice each semester, we host a “town hall” meeting that we call the SBA Deans Forum.  All students are invited to this event where the deans provide updates to the student body and are available to answer questions. In addition, the Student Bar Association (“SBA”) leaders have time reserved at the end to field questions and concerns from the student body without administrators present.

The SBA Deans Forum is scheduled at lunch today.  As is tradition, Diddy Riese cookies will be served!

We place a high value on the accessibility of our faculty, staff, and administration to our student body, and the SBA Deans Forum is indicative of that value.


Class of 2017 Professionalism Oath

Yesterday was the inaugural Parris Institute Launch Week’s Capstone Day.  It was an outstanding day.

Our 1L class had the unique opportunity to watch ten different attorneys in action in front of the three-person Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, followed by an insightful Q & A with the judges.

Later, they had another unique opportunity — to hear from Los Angeles City Attorney, Mike Feuer, again followed by a wonderful Q & A session.

Finally, the Class of 2017 worked together to construct their very own oath of professionalism, which was administered to them by the Honorable Terry Jill Adamson.  Following the oath, they signed their names in a gorgeous book to commemorate this special occasion:

Here is the oath they wrote for the Class of 2017:

We as the 1L 2017 class of Pepperdine School of Law do hereby take this Oath of Professionalism this 23 day of October 2014:

We solemnly swear:

– We will spiritedly represent our clients in the pursuit of Justice.
– We will take our assignments seriously regardless of their magnitude and make the most of our opportunities
– We will perform our duties with the highest level of integrity
– We will treat our peers and opponents with honesty and civility regardless of circumstances.
– We will not sacrifice our conviction in pursuit of our passions in law, maintaining our morals even under duress.
– We will value and pursue opportunities to serve our fellow man with our acquired skills and abilities.
– We will uphold the honorable tradition of the Justice System and endeavor to change the view of lawyers for the better.
– We will uphold the Pepperdine School of Law Honor Code
– We will strive to make our legacy at the Pepperdine School of Law one of tenacity and valor.

Pepperdine Law Ranked 5th In Mid-Career Salary Earnings

The Wall Street Journal published an interesting article yesterday based on a survey published by PayScale on mid-career earnings by graduate schools.  Of the 55 law schools with enough reports for statistical validity, Pepperdine ranked #5.  And, of the 600 graduate programs ranked in the entire survey, Pepperdine Law was ranked #6 overall.

Here is the opening of the Wall Street Journal article:

At $201,000 a year, Harvard Law School alumni earn more than those of any other U.S. graduate school by the midpoint in their careers. Ashford University master’s graduates earn the least at that stage, and Loma Linda University graduates are the most confident they are making the world a better place.

The data come courtesy of the online salary-information company PayScale, which has asked 1.4 million people what they earn in return for finding out how they stack up against their peers. The site is designed to help employees negotiate a better salary.

The survey pulled data for more than 600 graduate schools, including only those for which there were enough respondents to make their answers statistically valid.

Among their findings: the midcareer median salary for seven of the top 10 graduate programs were law schools, but business schools produced eight out of the top 10 highest salaries for those less than five years past graduation. Eight of the top 17 programs that produced graduates with the highest midcareer salary were in California, many in and around Silicon Valley.

PayScale has been producing undergraduate salary reports since 2008, but this is the company’s first stab at a graduate-school survey.

Alumni & Events Team


There have been several staff changes over the last few months at the law school, and we are excited to have our new Alumni & Events Team in place!  Pictured above and from the left; Haleigh Grisandra, Events Manager, Jessie Fahy, Esq. (JD ’11), Alumni Director, and Macalee Taylor, Events Coordinator.

Spiritual Formation Goals

Pepperdine Law Students at CLS National Conference (2)

The Pepperdine Law contingent at the Christian Legal Society national conference in Boston

The Pepperdine University School of Law is a Christian law school, and it is common for those outside of the community to wonder exactly what the “Christian” designation means.  It is obvious that the Christian description means something and that Pepperdine is not a secular institution that simply has Christian roots.  However, with no required statement of faith and a community that welcomes people from all faith backgrounds (and no faith background), it does not resemble what might be described as a Bible college either.

This year, a committee of faculty, staff, and students at the law school developed a set of spiritual formation goals for students.  Although the goals are new in terms of a written document, those familiar with the Pepperdine family will recognize that they simply articulate what it has long meant to describe the Pepperdine University School of Law as a Christian law school.

Here are the goals:

As a law school that is deeply committed to its Christian mission and welcoming people of all faiths, it is our goal that all students at the Pepperdine School of Law will…

1) Be loved in an environment where they can thrive and flourish;
2) Embrace and practice disciplines such as generosity, hospitality, relationships, rest, and service;
3) Contemplate and engage the roles of faith, religion, and spiritual life in the law and the practice of law;
4) See models of what it means to attempt to live out the Christian faith; and
5) Feel safe engaging in conversations about faith, and if so engaged, participate in dialogue that accurately represents the Christian faith, other faith traditions, or their understanding of faith.

Armand Arabian Advocacy Tournament Final Round


The final round of the Armand Arabian Advocacy Tournament was spectacular.  First, we had an amazing final round bench, with two sitting federal judges who also happen to be Pepperdine Law alums and a retired federal immigration judge who also happens to be a popular long-time adjunct faculty member.

But the stars were our two 3L finalists — David Moreshead and Scott Sasser.  Typically, after a moot court argument, the judges compliment the finalists and offer some pointers on how to improve.  This was the first time I have witnessed a final round bench with absolutely nothing to say in critique!  They were that good.

But the judges had to declare a winner, and in the end, David Moreshead (second from the right above) emerged as champion!

Congratulations to both David and Scott for their great work!