Paul L. Caron

Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Professor As Institutional Entrepreneur

Roger P. Alford (Notre Dame), The Professor as Institutional Entrepreneur, 47 Pepp. L. Rev. 269 (2020):

Law professors are all about ideas, and the creation of an institute, clinic, or center within a law school is the instantiation of an idea. Ideas embodied in law school institutions become crystallized in the fabric of a school, changing its culture, internalizing its values, and reflecting its priorities. Robert Cochran has helped to establish multiple institutes, centers, and clinics at Pepperdine Caruso Law School, and in so doing he has become the law school’s great serial entrepreneur. The institutes Cochran helped to establish have become laboratories to give expression to his ideas about the relationship between faith, ethics, and the law.

We often measure the success of a professor based on his or her scholarly impact. Much of the discussion in this issue honoring the life and work of Robert Cochran will be about his scholarship. That is an appropriate, but incomplete, measure of the man. For anyone who knows Bob Cochran, he was much more than a scholar. During his time at Pepperdine, Bob Cochran mentored hundreds and taught thousands of students. His impact on the lives of those individuals is difficult to measure, but impossible to deny. He also has mentored young faculty over the years, including myself when I arrived at Pepperdine in the early 2000s. Just as Thomas Shaffer had a lasting impact on Bob Cochran, so too has Bob Cochran had a lasting impact on students and colleagues who have been inspired by his life and work.

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