Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thanksgiving Friday

With Thanksgiving Crew

Enjoyed having seven law students and one law alumna join our family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday!


Thanksgiving Day!!!

I am simply thankful to be a part of the Pepperdine University School of Law family!  Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Thanksgiving Wednesday


I am thankful to be a part of a rigorous academic endeavor where brilliant professors and talented students view “service” as central to the academic enterprise.  In fact, the mantra for all of Pepperdine University is that we are preparing students for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.

Pictured above is one of my favorite student organization events each year.  Phi Delta Phi, an academic fraternity and one of our student organizations, hosts “canned immunity” just prior to Thanksgiving each year to collect food for a local food bank.  The genius is that students bring canned goods to donate, and if they have a can with them in class, they are immune from being called on by the professor.  However, in another stroke of brilliance, the professor can “match” the student’s can to remove the immunity — which often leads to an arms race in canned goods that raises more and more food for those in our community who are in need.  I love it.

Thanksgiving Tuesday


I am thankful to be a part of a rigorous academic endeavor where brilliant professors and talented students feel free to include faith in conversations about the law.  I’m not exactly sure how many law schools have a dean who speaks at a law student Bible study and prays for the students (pictured above last week).  But I know of at least one.

Thanksgiving Monday

I am thankful to be a part of a rigorous academic endeavor where brilliant professors and talented students also find a way to inject joy into the experience.

Case in point, Professor Helfand and 1L Aaron as seen HERE.

Big Day From Start to Finish

Today begins with the 1L class turning in their Open Memo project for their Legal Research & Writing (“LRW”) course.  It is worth 70% of their LRW grade and in some ways can be considered the final exam in that unique course.

Today ends with the release of the results of the July California Bar Exam.  Approximately 140 first-time takers and 15 repeaters from Pepperdine are anxious to receive the news.

Big day, all around.

Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles Prayer Breakfast

6My wife and I had the pleasure of attending the 8th Annual Prayer Breakfast for Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles last Saturday in downtown Los Angeles.  Pepperdine was represented everywhere.  The registration tables were staffed almost entirely by Pepperdine students.  Sarah McKendricks, CLA-LA’s executive director, is a Pepperdine alum, and Sarah replaced Jessie Fahy, another Pepperdine alum who now serves as our Director of Alumni Relations at the law school.  We sat at a table hosted by Stephanie Brown, one of our great 3Ls, who was given an award for her wonderful volunteer work at CLA-LA.  It was a fantastic morning!

5Sarah McKendricks, Jessie Fahy, and Stephanie Brown


My wife and I with attorneys Don Howarth & Suzelle Smith

Students Before the Ninth Circuit

In the Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic students represent indigent clients as court-appointed counsel in briefing and arguing appeals before the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Students evaluate strategy and legal issues, research intensively, write and submit appellate briefs and present oral arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Yesterday, two of our outstanding 3Ls in the Clinic, Katelin Eastman and Sarah Gerdes, had the amazing opportunity to argue before the Ninth Circuit.  The argument went incredibly well, and one professor said that “[t]heir preparation and professionalism were exemplary.”

You can actually watch their argument HERE.  They are third on the docket (beginning at 1:25:30).

Congratulations to Katelin and Sarah for representing Pepperdine so well, but more importantly, for representing their client so well.



Professor Caron Named to List of the 25 Most Influential People in Legal Education


I’m not sure how many thousands of people work in legal education, but our very own Professor Paul Caron was named to a list of the 25 Most Influential People in Legal Education by the National Jurist.  We are so honored to have Professor Caron as a member of our faculty!

Exciting End to a Successful Fall Moot Court Season

2014-11-15 - DSC00218Pictured Above (left to right): Professor Hilary Reed, John Niemeyer, Melissa Cerro, David Moreshead, Scott Sasser, (Coach) Heather Burgess Johnston

Professor Hilary Reed submitted the following report:

We had three teams compete in moot court competitions this weekend, all of whom did very well! At the Chicago Bar Association Competition, Scott Sasser and David Moreshead came in second place overall. It was a great final round! Melissa Cerro and John Niemeyer made it to the quarter-finals, as well. At the National Veterans Law Competition in Washington, D.C., Emily Suhr and Lindsay Johnson made it to the semi-finals, won runner-up best petitioner’s brief, and Emily was named second best oral advocate. If you see any of these students this week, congratulate them!

Thanks to all of you who helped our teams prepare for these competitions. I am especially grateful to [Professor] Ann Ching for coaching the veterans law team and alum Heather Burgess Johnston for assisting me with coaching in Chicago. Patty Hayes, as always, made everything run smoothly. Finally, many thanks to Dean Tacha for her support and for helping us secure special funding to have a presence at the Veterans Law Competition. From all reports, it was a great competition and aligns well with our veterans initiatives.

We have now completed our fall competitions, and it will be an even busier spring. Thanks for continuing to support our advocacy programs.

5Runners-Up in Chicago: David Moreshead and Scott Sasser!