Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

ChatGPT Thinks I Am Way More Interesting Than I Am

Open AI ChatGPTWrite a bio of Pepperdine Caruso Law School Dean Paul Caron

Paul Caron is an American legal scholar and academic administrator who currently serves as the Dean of the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. He was born in the United States and grew up in the Chicago area.

Caron graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy. He then went on to earn a law degree from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

After law school, Caron worked as an attorney in the tax department of the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City. He later joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he taught courses in tax law and served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

In 2003, Caron joined the faculty of the University of San Diego School of Law, where he held the rank of Professor of Law and served as the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. During his time at USD, Caron became well-known for his scholarship in tax law and his popular TaxProf Blog, which he founded in 2004.

In 2017, Caron was appointed as the 7th Dean of the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. In this role, he has overseen significant changes at the law school, including the construction of a new campus in downtown Los Angeles and the creation of new programs in areas such as dispute resolution and entertainment, media, and sports law.

Throughout his career, Caron has been a prolific scholar and writer, with more than 50 published articles and book chapters to his credit. He is widely regarded as one of the leading experts in the field of tax law, and has been frequently cited in the national media on issues related to tax policy and reform.

Caron has also been active in the legal community, serving on the board of directors of the American Tax Policy Institute and as a member of the executive committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association. He has received numerous awards and honors for his scholarship and teaching, including the University of Cincinnati College of Law's Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching and the American Bar Association's Section of Taxation Distinguished Service Award.

In addition to his academic and professional accomplishments, Caron is also an accomplished musician and photographer. He has released several albums of original music and his photographs have been featured in exhibitions and publications around the world.

Can you guess the number of factual errors?

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March 22, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Paul Caron, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Law Clerk Selection And Diversity: Insights From Fifty U.S. Court Of Appeals Judges

Jeremy Fogel (Berkeley Judicial Institute), Mary Hoopes (Pepperdine) & Goodwin Liu (California Supreme Court), Law Clerk Selection and Diversity: Insights From Fifty Sitting Judges of the Federal Courts of Appeals, 137 Harv. L. Rev. ___ (2023):

Harvard Law ReviewJudicial clerkships are key positions of responsibility and coveted opportunities for career advancement. Commentators have noted that the demographics of law clerks do not align with the student population by law school, socioeconomic background, gender, race, or ethnicity, and that ideological matching is prevalent between judges and their clerks. But extant studies draw on limited data and offer little visibility into how judges actually select clerks. For this study, we conducted in-depth individual interviews with fifty active judges of the federal courts of appeals to learn how they approach law clerk selection and diversity. Our sample, though not fully representative of the judiciary, includes judges from all circuits, appointed by Presidents of both parties, with average tenure of fourteen years. The confidential interviews, which drew in part upon the peer relationship that two of us have with fellow judges, yielded rich and candid insights not captured by prior surveys.

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February 22, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, February 19, 2023

A Glimpse Into Faith At Pepperdine Caruso Law: Dean’s Bible Study

Bible Study

The Graphic, A Glimpse Into Faith at Caruso Law: Dean’s Bible Study:

The Dean’s Bible Study offers Caruso School of Law students a time to worship and opens a space to share faith with one another. Attendees of the the two-hour Dean’s Bible Study service gather in community, listen to sermons and pray.

The Dean’s Bible Study offers Caruso School of Law students a time to worship and opens a space to share faith with one another. Attendees of the the two-hour Dean’s Bible Study service gather in community, listen to sermons and pray. “My first year it [the Bible study] was such a cornerstone for me; it was a nonnegotiable time,” Heuermann said.

The Dean’s Bible Study occurs every Wednesday of the academic year and is open to all Pepperdine students, Caron said. With a new guest speaker each week, students can worship in community and connect with God.

The Dean’s Bible Study has been a longstanding tradition at Caruso for 43 years, according to Caruso’s website. With the myriad of academic and mental challenges of attending law school, having a faith community for sharing and support can make those challenges more manageable, Heuermann said. ...

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February 19, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Pepperdine Caruso Law School Dinner With President Bush

CSOL Dinner Bush

A few sponsorships and tickets are available for Pepperdine Caruso Law's annual dinner on Wednesday, March 22, at the Beverly Hilton featuring former President George W. Bush.

February 15, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, January 15, 2023

L.A. Times: Pastor|Professor Bridges Faith|Psychology

Los Angeles Times, Pastor Thema Bryant Bridges Faith and Psychology:

Bryant 3The men’s choir had just brought down the house with the gospel classic “Miracle Worker” when Thema Bryant danced up to the lectern at First AME Church in South L.A.

Rising to the full height of her slim, 5-foot-7 frame, the 49-year-old ordained minister and psychologist smiled wide at the congregation before launching into her sermon — part preacherly rapture, part group therapy.

She was wearing purple, she said, in honor of it being the last Sunday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. She praised God for the survivors in the house and for those who grew up witnessing domestic violence and were committed to breaking the cycle. Then she made the unusual move of thanking the Almighty for the former offenders in the pews — keyword “former” — who were making a different choice because, as she reminded the congregation, domestic violence is a choice. ...

The room had fallen silent when she began, but by the time she finished, the organ was pounding out invisible exclamation marks and the church rang with applause.

It was a tricky maneuver, this straddling of psychology and religion at a Sunday morning service at a venerable Black church. But Bryant, who lectures nationally and internationally on diversity, multiculturalism and trauma, is equally at home in both worlds.

Since Freud first cast religion as a collective neurosis in the early 1900s, religion and psychology have historically eyed each other with suspicion, if not outright antagonism. Some psychologists argued that religious belief was a way of avoiding reality, while some religious leaders questioned the need for psychology when a person could turn to God.

Bryant’s many admirers within academia, the psychology field and the Black church say that she often serves as a bridge between them. Perhaps this explains why more than 332,000 people follow her inspirational musings on Instagram. ...

This month Bryant became president of the American Psychological Assn., the nation’s largest organization of psychologists, with more than 130,000 members. She is only the fourth Black woman and the second minister to assume the presidency in the organization’s 130-year history. The last time a minister led the group was in 1893.

Her historic election is emblematic of a growing openness among psychologists to engage with faith and spirituality, said Kenneth Pargament, professor emeritus of psychology at Bowling Green State University. “There’s an acknowledgment that there are aspects of being human that are not well captured by psychology — things like meaning and forgiveness, hope and humility,” he said.

Bryant sees people of many faiths — and no faith — in her private practice and says spirituality comes up only when it’s relevant for her clients. She never tries to convert anyone. Still, her official bio identifies her as both psychologist and Christian minister.

“I resist the idea that to be professional means you have to be a blank slate,” she recently told a graduate class at Pepperdine University, where she directs the Culture and Trauma Research Laboratory. “I hope you will bring all of yourself into the space, because what is healing is authenticity.” ...

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January 15, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Pepperdine Religious Liberty Clinic Amicus Brief In Supreme Court Charter School Case Quoted in Wall Street Journal

Pepperdine Caruso Law’s Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Religious Liberty Clinic amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Charter Day School v. Peltier, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, A Federal Court Ruling Imperils the Charter-School Movement

A ruling in a federal court case could spell trouble for the charter-school movement. The case began in 2015 when the American Civil Liberties Union, representing three female students, sued our school.

The plaintiffs in Peltier v. Charter Day School, Inc. allege that our uniform policy—which requires girls to wear jumpers, skirts or “skorts” (skirtlike shorts) on most days—violates the girls’ rights under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. After a mixed decision in federal district court, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in June for the plaintiffs.

By a 10-6 vote, the full court held that CDS is a “state actor,” constitutionally indistinguishable from government-run public schools. ... Because it lacks meaningful limiting principles, the Fourth Circuit opinion, if allowed to stand, could be applied to charter schools elsewhere, threatening their autonomy, subjecting them to the same rules, regulations and political machinations that have crippled government-run school systems. It would leave many low-income parents and students with no option other than poorly performing district schools.

Charter Day School Inc. has petitioned the Supreme Court to review the decision. Lawyers for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, Va.—which is under the Fourth Circuit’s jurisdiction—argue in a friend-of-the-court brief that the Fourth Circuit’s “overbroad approach” could also threaten religious social-service providers that contract with states. “A Jewish adoption service could be named the defendant in a 14th Amendment action,” they write. “A Christian relief ministry could face a Title VII suit without the shield of the statute’s religious exemption. Or a Muslim vocational program could meet with an Establishment Clause challenge.”

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January 8, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Today's Pepperdine And Tax AALS Highlights

AALS TaxSection on Associate Deans for Academic Affairs and Research, LLM (Law, Learning and Motivation): Transforming Legal Education via Learning and Motivation Principles
1–1:50 pm Marriott Grand Ballroom 9, Lobby Level, North Tower

Legal education and support are often described as entrenched in traditional methods of teaching and assessing student learning. Pedagogical considerations in law school classrooms and law school support systems rarely include a focus on how learning and motivation theory, and their practical applications, can positively impact the law student experience. In this session, participants will learn how to apply learning and motivation principles in the law school, with the overall goal of maximizing student learning and engagement, including a focus on self-regulation, goal setting, self-evaluation, cognitive load, emotions, and self-efficacy.

  • Olympia Duhart (Nova) (moderator)
  • Jeffrey Baker (Pepperdine)
  • Chalak Richards (Pepperdine)
  • Deepika Sharma (USC)
  • Nickey Woods (USC)

Section on Taxation, Teaching Tax: Methods and Approaches for the Modern Student
3–4:40 pm Solana, First Floor, South Tower, Marriott

Experienced tax professors will share lessons that they have learned about teaching tax in the last few years of disruption in legal education. Topics will include utilizing technology, incorporating insights from practitioners, and covering issues of racial justice.

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January 4, 2023 in Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Tax, Tax Conferences, Teaching | Permalink

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Please Join Us: Pepperdine Caruso Law AALS Reception (Friday, Jan. 6)

Malibu-pier-logo (010720)

Pepperdine Caruso Law School invites law professors and deans to a reception
hosted by Dean Paul Caron at the 2023 AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego

Friday, Jan. 6, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Malibu Room (4th Floor, South Tower) | Marriott (Headquarter Hotel)
Please join us for local California wine & beer and hors d'oeuvres

January 3, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Friday, December 23, 2022

Please Join Us: Pepperdine Caruso Law AALS Reception (Friday, Jan. 6)

Malibu-pier-logo (010720)

Pepperdine Caruso Law School invites law professors and deans to a reception
hosted by Dean Paul Caron at the 2023 AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego

Friday, Jan. 6, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Malibu Room | Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina (Headquarter Hotel)
Please join us for local California wine & beer and hors d'oeuvres

December 23, 2022 in Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Pepperdine Tax, Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink

Thursday, December 22, 2022

A Holiday Message From Dean Paul Caron

Pepperdine University | Caruso School of Law
Describe Image Here
Dear Pepperdine Caruso Law community,
2022 has been a consequential year for Caruso Law and for legal education. As you may have seen in the news, the ABA is poised at its February meeting to repeal the accreditation standard requiring prospective students to take the LSAT or GRE beginning with the Fall 2026 incoming 1L class. In addition, as of this morning 19 schools are boycotting the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings. 
2022 has also been a year of transition at Pepperdine Caruso Law. We welcomed four new faculty members and made significant leadership transitions. Our beloved Greg Ogden taught his final class last month after 44 years on our faculty.

We mourned the loss of two members of our Board of Advisors, former Dean Ken Starr and Robert Ming (JD ‘95), as well as our 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Mike Leach (JD ‘86), 1L student Brendan Linzmeier, and other precious members of our community.

We celebrated new Caruso Law-trained lawyers and welcomed the Class of 2025. We forged an historic partnership with Tuskegee University, one of our country’s 104 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, to offer an accelerated 3+3 degree program. We completed another successful fundraising year, with a successful 50 for 50 campaign and a new Brenden Mann Chair in Law and Religion. I have also enjoyed resuming my personal visits with so many of you across the country this year.
The beauty of our law school is that no matter what happens in legal education, we keep doing what we have been doing for 53 years: training students in our unique setting of academic excellence and deep Christian faith and sending them out into the world equipped to be the lawyers, counselors, and peacemakers that our nation and our world so desperately need. 
I pray you and your loved ones experience joy in this season. I am grateful for each one of you and the important contribution you make to our very special community. I hope to see you in 2023. In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room and Heaven and nature sing!

December 22, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Pepperdine Caruso Law Partners With Legal Vocation Fellowship For Early-Career Attorneys

Pepperdine Surf Report, Caruso School of Law Partners with Leading Experts to Support Legal Vocation Fellowship for Christian Attorneys:

LVFPepperdine Caruso School of Law and the Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion & Ethics are pleased to partner with leading experts on Christianity and law to support a new initiative for early-career attorneys seeking to integrate Christian faith into the practice of law. The Legal Vocation Fellowship (LVF), a project of the Carver Project and Notre Dame Law School’s Program on Church, State and Society, will enable selected attorneys to participate in a range of in-person and online sessions over the course of 15 months from 2023-24. LVF’s core values include a commitment to nonpartisanship, multiethnic diversity, and being distinctively and broadly Christian.

LVF Vision
:The Legal Vocation Fellowship (LVF) focuses on Christian formation and discipleship of early-career attorneys. This practically-oriented program is led by Christian law faculty and senior practitioners. LVF is a 15-month program for early-career attorneys seeking to integrate their Christian faith into the practice of law. We focus on Christian practitioners in law and proximate institutions who desire to restore the social fabric for love of neighbor and faithfulness to God. Our fellows are drawn from seven cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New York City, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.

LCF Faculty:

  • Rick Garnett (Notre Dame)
  • John Inazu (Washington University)
  • Ruth Okediji (Harvard)
  • Elizabeth Schiltz (St. Thomas)
  • David Skeel (Penn)

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December 4, 2022 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Pepperdine Caruso Law Is Thankful For Greg Ogden

After 44 years on the Pepperdine Caruso Law faculty, Greg Ogden taught his last class on Monday. We honored him with a clap-out:

On Monday evening, the faculty celebrated Greg with a dinner|roast at one of Pepperdine's beach houses:

Ogden Group

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November 24, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Monday, November 14, 2022

Pepperdine Caruso Law Fundraising After Our Naming Gift

30for30After receiving our $50 million naming gift three years ago, deans of schools that had received similar gifts warned me of the tendency for other alumni and friends to feel that their financial support may no longer be needed. During a road trip in Texas with Rebecca Malzahn, our Assistant Vice Chancellor and Senior Director of Development, we brainstormed ways to keep our alumni and friends energized about the law school. I had just watched one of the ESPN 30 for 30 sports documentaries, so we decided to do a 50 For 50 campaign to commemorate our $50 million naming gift and our 50-year anniversary. We hoped 50 alumni and friends would each donate $50,000 for student scholarships, raising a total of $2.5 million:

My wife Courtney and I were the first to contribute, and we exceeded our goal and raised $3.5 million from 55 donors. After several celebration events had to be postponed due to Covid-19, we were finally able to gather recently and thank our wonderful partners at a dedication event and unveiled a plaque with each donor's name to be displayed at the law school

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November 14, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Friday, November 11, 2022

Veterans Day At Pepperdine

Light to Unite Illuminates Phillips Theme Tower in Purple:

Pepperdine Tower (Veterans Day)Join the Pepperdine community tonight, November 11, at sunset, to witness as the Phillips Theme Tower is illuminated in purple in commemoration of Veterans Day and the 240th anniversary of our nation’s Purple Heart award.

In an initiative led by the National Flag Foundation and the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Pepperdine University was identified as the sole California representative of Light to Unite, a nationwide effort to demonstrate support for our country’s military heroes. Across the United States, Light to Unite has planned displays at buildings such as One World Trade Center in New York City, the Willis Tower in Chicago, and the Koppers Building in Pittsburgh.

Attend the lighting in person as Pepperdine’s 125-foot landmark is lit up for one of the few times in its history.

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November 11, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Tweedy Law School Deans Break Out Calculator

Bloomberg Law, Tweedy Law School Deans Break Out Calculators:


Law school dean once was a dream job for attorneys who prefer the ivory tower to the daily grind of billable hours. These days, the position is more like being chief executive of a sprawling business than a tweed-clad dispenser of constitutional wisdom.

“My job has radically changed,” said Marc Miller, who has served as the University of Arizona’s law school dean for nearly a decade.

The school—ranked in the top 50 by U.S. News—is among those that in recent years have expanded beyond the traditional juris doctor education program for college grads. It now also offers an undergraduate law degree, both on campus and online, as well dual JD/PhD and JD/MBA programs, legal training for foreign diplomats and education for alternative legal service providers.

The growing offerings from the University of Arizona and other law schools are aimed at bolstering bottom lines after a dip in enrollment and amid uncertainty posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Those factors have also changed the role of law school dean, increasingly to focus on making sure cash continues to flow in. ...

After he took over as Pepperdine University’s law dean, Paul Caron said his top job duty became finding ways to fill the enrollment gap. First-year enrollment at the school dropped in the mid-2000s from about 210 students to 160 students annually, he said.

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October 12, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Monday, October 10, 2022

Pepperdine Caruso Law School And Tuskegee University Launch 3+3 Accelerated BA|BS-JD Degree Program

CSOL Tuskegee

Today is a special day at Pepperdine Caruso Law School:  we are signing a Memorandum of Understanding for a new accelerated 3+3 degree program with Tuskegee University, one of the 104 accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States. This 3+3 degree program allows for Tuskegee students to attend their first year of law school after finishing their junior year at Tuskegee, thereby earning a bachelor’s degree followed by a juris doctor in six years instead of seven. Caruso Law has also guaranteed a 50 percent tuition scholarship to all HBCU students from underrepresented communities who are admitted to and attend Caruso Law, and up to five of those students will be named Caruso Excellence Scholars with full tuition scholarships.


Update:, 'Pathway to the Legal Profession': Pepperdine Caruso Law Partners With Tuskegee University for New 3+3 Law Degree Program:

The Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Monday for a new accelerated 3+3 degree program with Tuskegee University, one of the 104 accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States.

This 3+3 degree program allows for Tuskegee students to attend their first year of law school after finishing their junior year at Tuskegee, thereby earning a bachelor’s degree, followed by a juris doctor in six years instead of seven, Paul L. Caron, the Duane and Kelly Roberts dean and professor of law at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, wrote in his Tax Prof Blog on Monday.

Under the terms of the agreement, qualified students from Tuskegee may apply to Caruso Law at the start of their junior year instead of their senior year. If they are accepted, they would begin attending law school during what would have been their senior year, and those first-year law credits would also apply to the undergraduate record, according to the law school’s announcement.

“We are honored to partner with Tuskegee University and its students,” Caron said in a statement. “Our great hope is that degree pathways of this nature will open up new opportunities to the bright students who would not otherwise consider law school, while at the same time easing the burden of the typically high cost of an advanced degree.”

“In addition to providing a pathway to law school for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds,” Chalak Richards, dean of students, diversity and belonging at Caruso Law, said in a statement. “This accelerated program represents a significant tuition savings for these students” since these candidates are also automatically considered for the Caruso Law HBCU scholarships.

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October 10, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Friday, October 7, 2022

Texas A&M Conference For Associate Deans

Five years ago, on my first day as dean, I presented Faculty Scholarship Assessment: A (Very) New Dean's Perspective at the 2017 Texas A&M Associate Deans Conference.  I am delighted to be back at the 2022 Texas A&M Associate Deans Conference today as part of a Panel of Deans:

Texas A&MThis panel features current law deans with diverse backgrounds and experiences. They will discuss issues relevant to associate deans, including the relationship between the dean and associate dean, as well as advice for prospective law deans.

  • Robert Ahdieh (Texas A&M)
  • Paul Caron (Pepperdine)
  • Tamara Lawson (University of Washington)
  • Moderator: Gary Lucas (Texas A&M) 

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October 7, 2022 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Pepperdine Law School Dean Is Now Speaking Openly About His Lifelong Stutter

Inside Higher Ed, Pepperdine Law School Dean Is Now Speaking Openly About His Lifelong Stutter:

Inside Higher EdSome of Paul Caron’s most vivid childhood memories are about his stutter: disappearing to the restroom whenever the server came to his family’s table at a restaurant so his parents would order for him; children laughing at him in fourth grade when the teacher asked him his name and he couldn’t say it.

Today, Caron is dean of law at Pepperdine University. He still stutters: he participated in speech therapy as a child and again at the behest of his law firm early in his career, but the speech disorder remained. What he calls the “daily terror” associated with speaking lingers, as well. But recently Caron has begun to talk openly about his stutter, in an effort to live more authentically, for his own sake and for that of students.

“I’m not doing this for attention, right?” Caron smiled during a recent interview prompted by a post he wrote, called “Deaning While Stuttering,” on his blog, TaxProf. “I’m just hoping that it’ll help folks to kind of see what struggles I have as dean and sort of how I’ve been able to overcome them.”

Academe hasn’t historically been hospitable to vulnerability. Many would say this is still the case and argue that higher education remains ableist, in particular. Perhaps that’s why there is so little available data on—and so little representation of—leaders with disabilities in higher education, as religious and disabilities studies scholar Darla Schumm pointed out in a recent opinion piece for Inside Higher Ed. “Why does higher ed need leaders with disabilities?” Schumm wrote. ...

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October 4, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Celebrating 50 Years Of Pepperdine's Malibu Campus

Monday, September 12, 2022

Pepperdine Law Dean On Why His Stutter Didn't Keep Him From His Calling (Caron)

Update:  Inside Higher Ed, Pepperdine Law School Dean Is Now Speaking Openly About His Lifelong Stutter (Oct. 4, 2022), Pepperdine Law Dean on Why His Stutter Didn't Keep Him From His Calling:

When Paul L. Caron, the Duane and Kelly Roberts dean and professor of law at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law and publisher and editor of Tax Prof Blog, posted his blog titled, “Deaning While Stuttering,” he didn’t expect it to garner so much attention.

The blog post has received more than 10,900 page views, Caron told Friday morning, and to date has had 4.3K social media shares. ...

“As a life-long stutterer, I found this New York Times video, I Stutter. But This Is What You’re Not Hearing with writer John Hendrickson (What Joe Biden Can’t Bring Himself to Say), particularly compelling,” Caron wrote in his blog. ...

Caron joined the Pepperdine Law faculty in 2013 after serving as the D & L Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor in the spring semesters in 2010 to 2013. He served as associate dean for Research and Faculty Development at Pepperdine in 2015-2017. He previously was associate dean of faculty and Charles Hartsock Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, according to his bio.

“I loved being in a leadership role focused mainly on internal matters while the dean did all of the public-facing work giving speeches and interacting with alumni, donors, friends, etc.,” Caron told “I fancied myself as a loyal Robin while Batman did all of the stuff I couldn’t do.”

Then, when the former dean announced she was leaving, “my wife and several friends suggested that I throw my hat in the ring,” Caron said. “I loved Pepperdine’s unique mission in combining academic excellence with a strong Christian faith heritage.”

“I was very concerned that my stutter would keep the faculty and university from choosing me and would prevent me from being an effective dean if I were selected,” he said, adding that he would not have applied to a deanship at any other law school.

“I decided to not let my stutter keep me from pursuing what I believed was a calling on me at this particular place and at this time in my life,” Caron added.

He became dean of Pepperdine Law in 2017 and said he was recently reappointed for another five years. ...

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September 12, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 11th At Pepperdine


Pepperdine University to Commemorate Anniversary of 9/11 With Annual Waves of Flags Display and Memorial Ceremony:

For the 15th consecutive year, Pepperdine University will honor the lives lost in the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, with the Waves of Flags display at Alumni Park on the Malibu campus. From Friday, September 9, to Friday, September 23, 2022, nearly 3,000 flags will fly along Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Canyon Road—one for each innocent victim, including a national flag for each foreign country that lost a citizen in the attack. The Pepperdine community and the public are invited to visit the display and take a moment to reflect on the lives lost, the families affected, and the countless sacrifices made by emergency personnel and servicemen and women in the days that followed. 

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September 12, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Monday, August 29, 2022

Deaning While Stuttering


As a life-long stutterer, I found this New York Times video, I Stutter. But This Is What You’re Not Hearing. with writer John Hendrickson (What Joe Biden Can't Bring Himself to Say), particularly compelling:

As my fellow stutterers will understand, I have endured the daily terror of fearing the next time I will be required to speak. As far as I know, I was the only student in my elementary school, high school, college, and law school, and the only lawyer in my law firm and professor in my law schools, with this speech disorder. I am forever grateful for the teachers, professors, lawyers, and faculty who saw something in me that I never saw in myself and gave me the opportunity and unspoken encouragement to succeed as a student, lawyer, and law professor.

As you can imagine, deaning has made the daily terror particularly acute, with meetings and speeches filling my calendar. But for the first time in my life, I have begun talking about it with others, first in my presentation to the Pepperdine Caruso Law faculty when I ran for dean. I closed my remarks by saying:

There are many reasons why you may decide that I shouldn’t be dean.
But one of them shouldn’t be how I talk.
Because how I talk has made me the man that I am.

I have since shared my story with old and new friends, usually over dinner. Their reactions encouraged me to talk about my struggle at our Baccalaureate Service for our Christian students and their families the night before graduation in May. We give a Pepperdine Caruso Law-branded Bible to each of the graduates, inscribed with their name and the five Bible verses from my message on Purpose, Perseverance, and Psalm 139 Post-Pepperdine. I explain how these verses have equipped me to not only survive but thrive in my dean role despite the difficulties I face. I encourage the graduates to lean on these verses when they face the inevitable challenges that will come their way. Among those in attendance at the service this year was Frank Biden, the brother of the President. One of the most unexpected twists in my dean journey was becoming friends with Frank, due to our shared faith and shared struggle with our speech.

In July, I was invited to be one of six "experienced" deans to lead the annual workshop hosted by the ABA for all new law school deans. My assigned topic was Leadership and Management, and I spoke on the ten things I wish I had known when I had become a dean five years earlier. My last item was Leading Through Weakness, and I shared the challenges I have faced deaning with my stutter. I closed by telling the new and experienced deans about what I had said to the faculty when I ran for dean, and what I have learned since then. I talked about an expression that originated in the computer industry in the 1970s: programmers found what they thought was a “bug” in some software, but when they dug deeper, they realized that it was a “feature” intentionally added by the developer to serve an important purpose that was not apparent on the surface. I said that if I could go back in time, I would change my message to the faculty to:

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August 29, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (10)

Monday, August 8, 2022

Welcome, Pepperdine Caruso Law School Class Of 2025

Launch Week

Welcome to the members of the Pepperdine Caruso Law School Class of 2025 who begin their legal education today in a week-long introduction to law school and professional formation, as well as the over 400 students pursuing jointLL.M., and masters degrees and certificates, including our LL.M. and certificate programs in Entertainment, Media, and Sports and our online masters in Legal Studies and Dispute Resolution and our online LL.M. in Dispute Resolution.

We are thrilled that, despite the 12% nationwide decline in the number of law school applicants (and the 14% nationwide decline among applicants in the highest LSAT bands), we exceeded our enrollment target of 180 and enrolled a class with the highest credentials in the 54-year history of our law school (3.85 median UGPA and 164 median LSAT). 

This is my sixth year as Dean, and I am thrilled that you have decided to join our very special law school community. You will learn and study on our spectacularly beautiful campus in Malibu with easy access to Los Angeles, one of the world's most vibrant cities for young professionals. Beginning today you will experience the faculty and staff's faith-fueled commitment to you and to your success that manifests itself in various ways, large and small, in daily life at Pepperdine Caruso Law. My fervent wish is that you will love your time here as I have since joining the faculty in 2013, and that you will leave here with a deep sense of your professional and personal calling in law and in life.

August 8, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Abraham Lincoln’s Use Of The Bible In His Second Inaugural Address

The National Museum of American Religion has released this wonderful 40-minute documentary, Abraham Lincoln’s Use of the Bible in His Second Inaugural Address.  It features fascinating commentary on Lincoln's faith from Pepperdine's Pulitizer-Prize winning legal historian Ed Larson (for Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion), as well as Derek Hicks (Wake Forest), Condoleezza Rice (Stanford), Rosetta Ross (Spelman), Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh (Stanford), and Ron White (Trinity Forum; Author, Lincoln's Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural).

For more on the role of faith in Lincoln’s second inaugural address, see:

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July 17, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Does Religious Freedom Protect A Right To An Abortion? One Rabbi’s Mission To Find Out.

Time, Does Religious Freedom Protect a Right to an Abortion? One Rabbi’s Mission to Find Out:

TimeWhen Florida passed a law this spring that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, Rabbi Barry Silver was furious. And when it looked like the Supreme Court was likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, which would allow such bans to take effect, he decided he needed to act. Silver’s progressive synagogue, Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor in Palm Beach County, sued the state of Florida in June, arguing that the anti-abortion law infringes on religious liberty.

Judaism has viewed abortion as morally acceptable—and even required in some circumstances—for thousands of years. In contrast to some Christian beliefs that say life begins at conception, Jewish law says that life begins at birth, and that the fetus is part of the pregnant person’s body. This is widely understood to mean that the pregnant person’s rights take precedence, and that if the fetus endangers the pregnant person’s life or health, Jewish law would require them to have an abortion.

“The First Amendment, which is the first one that they enacted, upon which all other freedoms are based, was designed to prevent the exact type of thing that we see now: the merger of a radical fundamentalist type of Christianity with the state,” Silver, who is also a civil rights lawyer and a former Democratic Florida state legislator, tells TIME. “This law criminalizes the practice of Judaism.”

It’s unclear if Silver’s lawsuit will prevail, though some legal experts say it raises legitimate points. “There’s a strong argument that [courts] would also have to grant a religious exemption given the requirements of Jewish law,” says Michael Helfand, a professor of religion and ethics at Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law.

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July 10, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, July 3, 2022

After The SCOTUS School Prayer Decision, What Comes Next For American Jews?

Following up on my previous post, New Pepperdine Religious Liberty Clinic Asks Supreme Court To Rule For High School Coach Fired For Praying On Football Field After Games:

Forward Op-Ed:  After the SCOTUS School Prayer Decision, What Comes Next For American Jews?, by Michael Helfand (Pepperdine):

KennedyThe Supreme Court issued yet another landmark church-state decision on Monday, finding in favor of Coach Joseph Kennedy — a public high school football coach — who had been terminated for praying at the 50-yard line after games.

The case presented not only a convoluted record of when and with whom these prayers took place, but also hinged upon issues of religious liberty, church-state separation and free speech—and has therefore become somewhat of a Rorschach test. To some, the case was all about a coach losing his job for a personal prayer; to others, the case was all about a school district preventing a school employee from indoctrinating students.

Many in the American Jewish community had expressed concern that the decision in favor of the coach might allow public school employees to foist prayers on their students, while others had worried that a decision in favor of the district might prohibit school employees from engaging in religious practices.

Ultimately, the Court’s decision has the potential to protect individual religious liberty while still protecting public school students from religious coercion. Only time will tell whether lower courts will successfully walk that line.

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July 3, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Monday, June 20, 2022

Town And Gown, Malibu And Pepperdine

Wall Street Journal, The New HOTTER Malibu:

Decades after Larry Ellison started buying up Malibu real estate, a new group of billionaires is sending prices in the famed beach city higher. Not everyone is happy about it. ...

WSJMalibu, a beach city about 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles, has changed drastically over the last few decades, morphing from a largely undeveloped surf mecca into a pricey playground for celebrities and the uber-wealthy. The change—spurred in part by investment from tech titan Larry Ellison—has sent Malibu real-estate values skyward.

Malibu home prices have climbed even higher since the Covid-19 pandemic. As it became clear that the crisis would continue for some time, some of the country’s wealthiest people fled to Malibu, lured by its uncrowded beaches, sunny weather and relaxed, surftown vibe. They vied to purchase the most sought-after beachfront and blufftop properties, picking over the already small number of available homes for sale. Much like other high-end markets across the country with limited inventory, the Malibu market “took off like a rocket ship” .... And despite mounting evidence that wealthy buyers are starting to pull back from luxury markets across the county, activity in Malibu shows little sign of letting up.

Malibu residents say they are accustomed to celebrities and billionaires moving in from out of town, but even they are shocked by the city’s newest round of big-ticket home sales. The Bohemian character that lured wealthy buyers to Malibu in the first place, some locals said, is on the verge of being irrevocably lost. ...

MalibuOverall, the number of Malibu home sales of $5 million and up swelled to 81 last year, up from 39 in 2019, according to appraisal firm Miller Samuel. In the first quarter, the median price for a single-family home shot to $6.99 million, compared with $4.25 million during the same period of 2021. ...

For many wealthy buyers, the allure of Malibu is its relaxed atmosphere, which allows them to disappear from public view. “When these people come here, they are different,” Mr. Stern said. “People who you normally see on TV all dressed up, here they don’t shave or comb their hair.”

Another reason for Malibu’s popularity among the uber-wealthy is that its beaches are significantly less crowded than those in Santa Monica or Venice Beach, and lack souvenir stands, beach vendors and amusements.

And then there’s Larry Ellison, the co-founder of tech giant Oracle. Mr. Ellison became synonymous with Malibu starting in the early 2000s, when he started buying up numerous homes in the beach city. He now owns around 10 homes on Carbon Beach, and locals say they occasionally spot Mr. Ellison around town or on his yacht docked off Paradise Cove.

But Mr. Ellison didn’t stop at buying homes. He also has ownership stakes in multiple buildings and commercial ventures that helped convert Malibu from a rustic and rundown surf city into an upscale destination, according to his real-estate agent, Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency. Mr. Ellison turned the PierView Restaurant and Cantina, a casual local eatery popular with students from nearby Pepperdine University, into a high-end Asian restaurant before turning it over to the private club Soho House. Another casual restaurant, known as the Windsail, was transformed into a Nobu restaurant, attracting celebrities such as the Kardashians and Justin Bieber. The Casa Malibu Inn, a low-key 1950s hotel, became the Japanese-inspired Nobu Ryokan Hotel, where rates start at a minimum of $2,000 a night. ...

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June 20, 2022 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Pepperdine Caruso Law Celebrates The Class Of 2022

3L Commissioning Service and Dinner (April 20, 2022):


3L Baccalaureate Service (May 19, 2022):

Baccalaureate Program

Baccalaureate Chapel

Baccalaureate Eric

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June 5, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Journey Continues . . .

I posted this five years ago today (June 1, 2017):

JourneyI am proud of the progress we have made toward these goals and honored to continue to serve in this role. 

June 1, 2022 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Pepperdine Caruso Law Welcomes New Faculty

New Faculty Pepperdine

Pepperdine Caruso Law Welcomes New Faculty Members in the 2022-23 Academic Year:

Pepperdine Caruso Law is pleased to welcome four new faculty members joining us in August,  whose teaching and research focus on areas of law including the Second Amendment, the treatment of marginalized populations, criminal law, and tax law. Included in this distinguished group are tenure-track faculty and our first Pepperdine Caruso Family Law Fellow.

Jake Charles, who writes and teaches on the Second Amendment and firearms law, comes to Pepperdine from Duke University School of Law where he served as the inaugural executive director of the Duke Center for Firearms Law and remains an affiliated scholar. Charles earned a B.A. in criminology, law and society, and psychology and social behavior from the University of California, Irvine; M.A. degrees in theology and philosophy from Biola University; and his J.D. from Duke Law School. His most recent article, Securing Gun Rights By Statute: The Right to Keep and Bear Arms Outside the Constitution, was published in 120 MIch. L. Rev. 581 (2022)

Mary Hoopes, whose research examines how legal and political institutions serve marginalized populations, joins us from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she was the Director of Research at the Berkeley Judicial Institute. Hoopes earned a B.S. at the University of Notre Dame, her J.D. from Cornell Law School, and a Ph.D. from Berkeley Law. At Pepperdine, Hoopes will serve as the co-director of the Wm. Matthew Byrne, Jr. Judicial Clerkship Institute. Her most recent article, Regulating Marginalized Labor, was published in 73 Hastings L.J. 1041 (2022).

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May 26, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Legally Blonde Dean

I was voted the guest who was most committed to the Legally Blonde theme at Saturday night’s graduation party. To all prospective law students: I hope this proves that the dean at Pepperdine Caruso Law will do (almost) anything for our students!

TaxProf Blog

May 24, 2022 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Pepperdine Caruso Law Bibles For The Class Of 2022

One of my favorite things to do as dean: signing the Pepperdine-branded Bibles we will be giving to our graduates at tomorrow night's Baccalaureate Service for the Class of 2022 and their families. I write in each Bible the graduate's name and the five Bible verses I will be talking about in my message that have shaped my life (and that I hope will shape theirs).


May 18, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Saturday, May 7, 2022

8th Annual Parris Awards At Pepperdine Caruso Law School

Congratulations to our student, staff, and faculty winners at the 8th Annual Parris Awards at Pepperdine Caruso Law:

ParrisStudent Awards

Evan T. Carthen 1L Inspirational Leadership Award
Section A: Phillip Allevato
Section B: Grace Ramsey
Section C: Mason Folse

Excellence in Service
Rebecca Voth

Excellence in Professionalism
Alina Ahmed

Excellence in Peacemaking
Tyler Clark

Excellence in Courage
Natalie Burkholder

Excellence in Leadership
Lindsey Kirchhoff

Excellence in Character
Thurgood Wynn

Pepperdine Award
Joseph Castro

Preceptor Award
Awards are also presented to alumni preceptors, who are paired with first-year students as mentors during their first year of law school

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May 7, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Pepperdine Seeks To Hire An Assistant Dean For Professional Formation

Pepperdine Caruso Law is looking to hire an Assistant Dean for Professional Formation. This new position is an exciting opportunity to join the law school's leadership team and teach 1L students:

Pepperdine Campus Helicopter (040219) (Brighter)The Assistant Dean for Professional Formation envisions, creates, implements, and supports innovative strategies for the development and enhancement of professional formation and career opportunities for Pepperdine Caruso Law students and alumni. This is accomplished through leadership in the Parris Institute for Professional Excellence (“Parris”) and the Career Development Office (“CDO”). With vision and leadership, the Assistant Dean supervises and works closely with the Parris and CDO staff to accomplish the school’s career, professional formation, and leadership goals.


  • Teach professional formation classes to the first year class (up to 10 hrs per week), including substantive participation in Launch Week.
  • Support ongoing special programming directed towards upper year students.
  • Counsel first year students in character development, the role of faith and deeply held moral convictions in the legal profession, and reputation in the professional practice of law.
  • Develop direct relationships and contacts, and foster effective outreach programs and working relationships, with employers, alumni, faculty, staff, and other placement professionals. 
  • Continuously grow alumni and employer outreach programs and current job listings.
  • Guide CDO and law school staff in placing recently graduated alumni with employers, driving excellence in law school's student and graduate employment outcomes relative to peer and aspirational schools.
  • Encourage ongoing positive communications and relationships between students, alumni, and the CDO.
  • Plan and implement innovative marketing strategies to identify and solicit a diverse group of potential employers and relationships.
  • Work closely with the Alumni Affairs Office of Alumni Relations to cultivate and enhance employer and alumni relationships. 
  • Regularly attend and help organize and facilitate alumni and employer networking functions.
  • Manage employment data collection and reporting to the ABA, NALP, and other entities.
  • Guide the Parris Institute manager in research projects, facilitating participation in external research opportunities, and reviewing initial data on law student professional development, wellness, leadership, and character formation.
  • Creatively consider ways to expand the scope and reach of the institute in the legal profession by researching trends on legal professional development, wellness, leadership, and character formation to position the Parris Institute as a thought leader in the legal academy and broader community.
  • Supervise, and work with CDO staff to counsel students and alumni in career planning, job searches, resume preparation, interviewing skills, and networking in the diverse legal market; coordinate training skills workshops, career forums, and alumni speaker programs; and manage the on-campus interview (OCI) and student recruiting programs.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.
  • Support and contribute to the law school's mission, student and community service ideals, and overall goals and objectives. Uphold University mission through work performed.

To apply for the position, see here. For more information, contact me or Chalak Richards, our Associate Dean of Student Life, Diversity, and Belonging; and Executive Director, Parris Institute for Professional Excellence.

April 28, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Pepperdine Caruso Law 3L Commissioning Service

Commissioning Service Program (042022)

We hosted our 11th annual 3L Commissioning Service at Pepperdine Caruso Law last week. Like many of the best things at our school, this was the brainchild of a student. In 2012, 2L Raija Churchill proposed that the last Wednesday night Dean's Bible study of the year model the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) as a send-off for our graduating 3Ls. After an online service last year due to Covid, we were thrilled to be back in person this year at the specacular new Light House on Pepperdine's main campus. I was honored to give two gifts to each 3L on behalf of the law school:

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April 24, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Harvard Journal Of Sports And Entertainment Law Honors The Memory Of Cedric Weston Halloran (2000-2021)

Cedric 7During the pandemic, our law school community has endured far too many deaths, including the loss of recent graduates, alumni, faculty, faculty spouses, and children of faculty. Our beloved colleague Maureen Weston and her husband Brian Halloran are mourning the death last year of their 20-year old son, Cedric. To honor and continue Cedric's legacy, Maureen and Brian have established the Cedric Weston Halloran Project For Student Mental, Physical, and Fiscal Health and the Cedric Weston Halloran Endowed Scholarship. Maureen posted on Facebook this wonderful tribute from the co-editors-in-chief of the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law:

Cedric 3

We mourned Cedric's passing at last year's Baccaureate Service, which was the first time our community gathered in person since we shifted online during the pandemic 440 days earlier. There are of course no words to adequately convey our sorrow and comfort Maureen, Brian, and all in our community who have suffered tragic losses during the pandemic. I said in part:

Although we have lost much over the past 440 days, we are here to worship the God who created us, the God who has been with us the past 440 days, and the God who will be with us for the next 10,000 years and forever more.

April 10, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Pepperdine’s Place In The 2023 U.S. News Law School Rankings

USN Logo (2023)By now many of you have seen the news that Pepperdine Caruso Law ranks #52 in the 2023 U.S. News Law School Rankings. This is the fourth year in a row that Pepperdine Caruso Law has been ranked between #46-#52, an increase of at least 20 spots from its #72 ranking in 2018.

We do not chase rankings at Pepperdine Caruso Law. Every decision we make is guided by a single question: what is in the best interest of our students? Often those decisions produce a rankings benefit as well, and we gladly reap those results. I am pleased that we received the highest ranking in our history in several components of the 2023 rankings, including academic peer reputation, student selectivity (median LSAT scores, median undergraduate GPAs, and admissions acceptance rate), and average student loan debt.

Pepperdine Caruso Law also was recognized by U.S. News with Top 50 rankings in five specialty programs based on our reputation among faculty in those fields:  #1 in dispute resolution, #28 in tax law, #31 in trial advocacy, #39 in international law, and #46 in clinical training, as well as a #54 ranking in constitutional lawThis is the 14th time in the past 18 years that the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution has been recognized as the top ADR program in the country. 

We are proud of our past, excited by all we have accomplished thus far, and exhilarated at what we will be able to achieve in the future with the additional resources provided by Rick J. Caruso's $50 million naming gift.

March 29, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, March 6, 2022

New Pepperdine Religious Liberty Clinic Asks Supreme Court To Rule For High School Coach Fired For Praying On Football Field After Games

Pepperdine Caruso Law Religious Liberty Clinic Represents American Legion in Supreme Court Amicus Brief:

Pepperdine Amicus BriefPepperdine Caruso Law’s newly-established Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Religious Liberty Clinic filed an amicus brief on March 2 at the United States Supreme Court in support of Coach Joseph Kennedy’s appeal against Bremerton School District. The friend of the court brief was submitted on behalf of national veterans’ organization The American Legion. Kennedy, an assistant high school football coach, was fired by the Seattle-area school district because he engaged in private prayer on the football field after games. The Clinic’s brief argues that the First Amendment protects the right of government employees to engage in personal prayer in public places.

The brief was drafted in part by Caruso Law third-year students Anne McCarthy and Seth Shepherd, along with attorneys from global law firm Jones Day, including Noel Francisco, former Solicitor General of the United States.

“It has been a privilege getting to work with and learn from the attorneys at Jones Day,” said McCarthy. “I am glad that we could do our part to protect a robust role for religious expression in the public square.”

“Working on this brief has been one of the highlights of my education at Pepperdine,” said Shepherd. “I am proud that we have been able to make a difference on such an important case, and as someone set to become a Marine Corps Judge Advocate after graduation, I am particularly proud that the clinic is representing the American Legion.”

“Football fields are not religion-free zones,” said Eric Rassbach, visiting professor at Pepperdine and inaugural executive director of the clinic. “The school district got the Constitution exactly backwards by banning prayer instead of allowing it as the First Amendment requires. We hope the Supreme Court throws the yellow flag on this flagrantly unconstitutional behavior.”

This is the first brief filed by the new clinic at Pepperdine Caruso Law, established in January 2022 with the help of a transformational gift from the Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation. As part of the school’s Nootbaar Institute for Law, Religion, and Ethics, the Religious Liberty Clinic explores enduring questions relating to how civil governments treat the religious beliefs, expressions, and institutions of their citizens and residents. “Faith is at the very core of Pepperdine’s mission,” said Dean Paul Caron. “The new Religious Liberty Clinic is a natural extension of our work, and empowers us to make an even greater impact with our faculty and students in matters of faith and the law.”

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March 6, 2022 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Brooklyn's Michael Cahill Is Tenth Law School Dean To Give At Least $100,000 To Students

Brooklyn Law School, Trailblazing Judge Mary Johnson Lowe '54 Honored with Named Scholarship to Promote Student Diversity and Inclusion:

CahillThe late Mary Johnson Lowe ’54, the first Black student to serve as editor-in-chief of the Brooklyn Law Review and the second Black woman appointed to the federal judiciary, has been honored with a new scholarship in her name. Funded by a pledge of $100,000 from Dean Michael T. Cahill and his wife Rosalyn Scaff, the scholarship will support Brooklyn Law School students from underrepresented groups. Cahill and Scaff's gift to the Law School recognizes Lowe’s lifelong dedication to equal justice and civil rights—in the courtroom and in the community.

“This scholarship honors a woman who made history, at Brooklyn Law School and beyond, and reaffirms a commitment to continuing our own history as a school of opportunity for people from all backgrounds, who can find a home here and thrive,” said Cahill.

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February 17, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Monday, February 14, 2022

Valentines Day (And Every Day) At Pepperdine

Friday, February 11, 2022

Pepperdine Announces New $5 Million Brenden Mann Chair In Law & Religion; Michael Helfand Named Inaugural Chairholder

Pepperdine Caruso School of Law Announces Newly Endowed Brenden Mann Chair in Law and Religion:

Helfand 2The Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law announced the newly endowed Brenden Mann Chair in Law and Religion supported by a generous $2.5 million commitment from the Brenden Mann Foundation. Pepperdine will match this gift as part of the University's Strategic Academic Investment Initiative, bringing the full endowment to $5 million. The endowment will ensure a faculty position dedicated to scholarly research, classroom instruction, and thought leadership on the relationship between law and religion. World-renowned religious law expert and Caruso School of Law professor Michael Helfand will serve as the inaugural chair.

Created by theater entrepreneur Johnny Brenden, whose grandfather, Ted Mann, founded Mann Theaters, the Brenden Mann Foundation supports numerous arts, education, and health programs for young people in the communities it serves. This gift will add to the foundation’s support of Pepperdine programs, including the Brenden Mann Israel Internship Program for students who want to explore international opportunities and a scholarship program for undergraduates interested in both Jewish studies and interfaith programming.

The generous endowment supporting the Brenden Mann Chair in Law and Religion ensures a faculty position dedicated to scholarly research, classroom instruction, and thought leadership on the relationship between law and religion. “This extraordinary gift from the Brenden Mann Foundation,” said Paul Caron, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and professor of law, “will equip the law school to further enhance the University’s commitment to teaching and leading at the intersection of faith and law.”

The inaugural holder of the Brenden Mann Chair in Law and Religion will be Michael Helfand, a world-renowned expert on religious law and religious liberty whose work focuses on how US law treats religious law, custom, and practice.

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February 11, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

London Study Abroad Opportunity For 2Ls And 3Ls In Fall 2022


One of the major components of our global programs at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law is our Fall London Program, now in its 41st year. I am pleased to announce that Professor Naomi Goodno will be serving as the program’s academic director in Fall 2022. She will lead the faculty of British professors and practitioners teaching a wide array of course. We invite and welcome visiting 2Ls and 3Ls who are interested in international and comparative law, human rights, conflict resolution, arbitration, business, and diplomacy. The program offers extensive externship opportunities in London, study tours to international courts and institutions, and energetic moot court competitions with British law students and young lawyers.

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February 8, 2022 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

ABA Teaching Taxation Panel Today On Riding The Tax Reform Wave In Real Time

I am looking forward to moderating the Teaching Taxation Section panel on Riding the Tax Reform Wave in Real Time at today's ABA Tax Section Virtual 2022 Mid-Year Meeting at 12:30-2:00 PM ET:

ABA Teaching Taxation Social MediaWhat are the different ways in which law faculty and practitioners keep up with tax reform proposals, legislative changes, and administrative guidance in the rapidly changing world of tax law? As professionals, we need to be aware of conversations around legislative proposals and any resulting changes that would impact our audience, whether that is law students or clients. What are the best processes and sources of information for staying abreast of pending changes to the tax law? How do we juggle uncertainty as proposals unfold, whether we are teaching students or advising clients? How do we get up to speed as quickly as possible once changes are implemented and guidance follows? The panel – consisting of a tax law professor, law librarian, journalist, and practitioner – will discuss the best practices with simulations.

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February 2, 2022 in ABA Tax Section, Conferences, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Pepperdine Tax, Tax, Tax Conferences | Permalink

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Pepperdine Pixie Dust

One of my favorite things about my job is having the opportunity to go to AALS and ABA dean meetings. I love to rub elbows (albeit virtually the past two years) with great people and learn things that I can take back to use at Pepperdine. At this year's AALS Deans Forum on Transitions: Crisis Management to Transformational Leadership, Jon Cook, Global CEO of VMLY&R, gave a wonderful keynote address on Brand the Experience | Experience the Brand.

Pixie DustJon talked about how Disney delivers the best customer service in the world: by encouraging employees to sprinkle pixie dust in their interactions with guests – to do something out of the ordinary that guests would not expect or experience any other place. He illustrated the point with how employees at the Magic Kingdom respond to a common question: What time is the 3 o'clock parade?

Most of us would be tempted to roll our eyes and answer snarkily: "Duh, 3 o'clock." At Disney, employees are encouraged to sprinkle pixie dust and exceed the guest's expectations by saying things like:

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January 30, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Pepperdine Caruso Law Seeks To Hire A Faculty Fellow

For anyone interested in becoming a tenure-track law professor, I hope you will consider our new Pepperdine Caruso Law Fellowship:

Pepperdine Campus Helicopter (040219) (Brighter)The Pepperdine Caruso Law Fellowship is designed to assist attorneys with backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in the legal academy to pursue a full-time legal academic tenure-track career. The fellowship is a two-year appointment that will provide such attorneys with the time and resources to obtain the skills needed to successfully transition to a tenure-track legal academic position.

Fellows will have ample time to pursue scholarly projects. They will be fully integrated into the faculty community and will be invited to attend and actively participate in all faculty presentations and workshops. Fellows will also have the opportunity to present a paper to the faculty and receive feedback in preparation for the entry-level job market. Fellows will also receive financial support for their scholarship including access to research assistants as well as funds to travel to and attend conferences. This is a full-time position, and Fellows will be expected to be in full-time residence at Pepperdine Caruso Law during the academic year.

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January 19, 2022 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, January 16, 2022

2021 Religious Law School Rankings

Most Devout Law SchoolsThe Most Devout Law Schools, preLaw (Winter 2021):

Every two years, preLaw magazine spotlights the country’s Most Devout Law Schools [2019 ranking here]. ... Forty-six law schools in the U.S. have ties to faith. ... 28 law schools ... are associated with the Catholic religion. Many others are rooted to other Christian faiths, and two are Jewish institutions — Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York City and Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Central Islip, N.Y.

Most Devout Christian Law Schools

preLaw magazine bases its Most Devout honor roll on information gathered from law schools and other sources, including: percentage and activity of students and faculty who belong to the faith; number of religion-focused courses and other ways the school incorporates faith into its curriculum; religion-related journals, centers and clinics; religious services and clergy at the law school; and mission of the law school.

Most Devout Catholic Law Schools:

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January 16, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Deaning And Tsunamis

It has been quite a ride as dean: bones broken by a student, getting tossed out of the U.S. News rankings for self-reporting a data entry error, mass shooting, cataclysmic fire, detached retinas in both eyes, global pandemic, and, this morning, my first tsunami warning:


January 15, 2022 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Best Law Schools For Practical Training

The Best Law Schools For Practical Training, preLaw (Spring 2021):

Schools have managed to do incredible work, even during a pandemic when face-to-face clinical work and externship opportunities were disrupted. ... This year, we’re honoring 65 schools, but every law school invests in practical training.

Practical Training

We graded schools on a number of data points, focusing on key practical training offerings such as clinics, externships, simulation courses, pro bono hours and moot trial participation.

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January 11, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Friday, January 7, 2022

Pepperdine Symposium: Wealth And Inequality

Pepperdine Symposium

Symposium, Wealth and Inequality, 48 Pepp. L. Rev. 875-1129 (2021):

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January 7, 2022 in Conferences, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Pepperdine Tax, Tax, Tax Conferences, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Sunday, November 28, 2021

WSJ: Fans Pour Funding—And Faith—Into 'The Chosen': A Hit Drama About Jesus

In July, I blogged The Chosen: Christian America’s Must-See TV Show and shared that I love the show so much that my wife and I were going to host weekly watch parties of Season 1 with lunch on Fridays in the fall semester at Pepperdine Caruso Law School. I am thrilled to report that it was such a success that we will be showing Season 2 in the spring semester. The weekend Wall Street Journal has a fascinating report on the show: Fans Pour Funding—and Faith—Into a Hit Drama About Jesus:

The Chosen 2Crowdfunding has raised millions for ‘The Chosen,’ an ambitious series exploring characters from the New Testament. Fans have already chipped in enough for three seasons—and are driving ticket sales for a Christmas special coming to movie theaters.

Dallas Jenkins, the filmmaker who created “The Chosen,” says the show’s style is modeled more on “Friday Night Lights” than other Christian TV shows and movies. Mary Magdalene relapses into vice. The apostle Matthew is on the autism spectrum. Jesus’ miracles get back stories.

By fleshing out biblical characters across multiple seasons, the show has inspired fan discussion, debate and squabbling on a level more typical of the Marvel or Star Wars series. Except that for “Chosen” fans, the dynamic is fueled by religious faith. ...

The success of the series is a powerful reminder to Hollywood that faith-focused projects can sometimes become breakthrough hits. But what makes “The Chosen” even more of an outlier is the way it is supercharging the crowdfunding model to sustain production through multiple seasons. Though “The Chosen” is free to watch, viewers have poured $40 million and counting into its production budget, enough to pay for three out of a planned seven seasons. The costs of building the new production facilities, on a 1,200-acre camp owned by the Salvation Army, are being covered by a smaller group of the show’s fans.

Producers say viewership was sluggish when the first season premiered for a fee in 2019. But the audience spiked when they made the series free on a “Chosen” app, now the show’s main distribution hub, and viewers continued to multiply during the pandemic’s lockdown months. The show has been translated into 50 languages, and is licensed to video services from Amazon to Peacock. Producers estimate that its 16 episodes have been viewed 312 million times. Now the “Chosen” audience is set to converge in person in movie theaters.

Starting Dec. 1, about 1,700 theaters will feature screenings of a “Chosen” Christmas special, including musical performances and a new episode in which Mother Mary (a series character played by Vanessa Benavente) flashes back to her son’s birth. Distributor Fathom Events, known for one- or two- day releases of classic movies, live opera and other specialty fare, expanded the “Chosen” event to 10 days. Ticket sales are approaching $6 million so far, putting “Christmas with ‘The Chosen’” on track to be Fathom’s bestseller ever, according to chief executive Ray Nutt.

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November 28, 2021 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink