Paul L. Caron

Sunday, October 1, 2023

The Parable Of The Prodigal Son: Justice, Mercy, And Humility

Bible Study 1 (092723)

I spoke at last Wednesday night's Bible study and dinner that my wife and I host for students, staff, and faculty. I talked about two of my favorite passages in Scripture: Micah 6:8 ("[W]hat does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.") and the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).

I used the three characters in the parable to illustrate God's view of justice, mercy, and humility. The younger (“bad”) son broke the rules and was humbled by hitting rock bottom, before returning home and receiving his father’s mercy and love. The older (“good”) son kept all of the rules and was humbled by realizing that did not make him any more deserving of his father’s love than his brother. To me, the main character in the parable is the father, who represents both our earthly fathers and our Father in heaven. All earthly fathers and mothers fall well short of being the parents their children deserve, just as all sons and daughters fall short in living out the fifth commandment ("Honor your father and mother"). 

I ended my message by talking about the sudden death of my 82-year old father in 2007. I am so grateful that, a few years earlier, I had taken separate trips to JH Ranch in northern California with my son and daughter when they were 13 years old for a week-long program (video) to help prepare them for adulthood. I got as much or more out of the program as they did. During each of the weeks, the ranch gathered the Dads and had us write letters to our fathers, apologizing for the mistakes we had made growing up and thanking them for all they had done for us. It means the world to me that after my father's death, I learned he had kept the two letters I wrote to him near his favorite chair in the living room.

I closed my remarks by offering everyone pens, stationery, stamped envelopes, and clipboards so they could write letters to their fathers or mothers. I was thrilled when they all took me up on the offer:

Bible Study 2 (092723)

It was a treat the next morning to mail the letters to parents around the country:

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October 1, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Speech By Princeton's Robby George About Free Speech Is Shouted Down At Washington College

Chronicle of Higher Education, A Professor Spoke About ‘Campus Illiberalism.’ Students Shouted Him Down Over His Anti-LGBTQ Views.:

Robert George 2This month, Robert P. George gave a campus talk about what he sees as a growing intolerance of certain viewpoints in higher ed.

“At some colleges and universities, speaking invitations to dissenters from campus orthodoxies are not issued,” the Princeton University professor wrote in prepared remarks he shared with The Chronicle. Those who are invited can be disinvited or pressured to withdraw, he wrote. Or “they are interrupted” or “shouted down.”

Some students who disagreed with George’s views on LGBTQ rights and abortion disrupted the speech. The event — at Washington College, a small liberal-arts institution in Maryland — ended early.

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October 1, 2023 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, September 10, 2023

2023 Religious Law School Rankings

Most Devout Law Schools Photo + RankingThe Most Devout Law Schools, preLaw (Winter 2023):

Religion has long played a significant role at many of the nation’s law schools. Here we highlight the top 20. ...

While 46 of the nation’s 200 law schools have ties to religious organizations, there is a big difference between them when it comes to acting on that faith.

While the 28 law schools associated with the Catholic religion stay true to a mission of serving the public good and educating the whole person, many provide few, if any, services or curriculum related to faith. And at many of those schools, few students ever talk of faith.

That’s not the case with the schools on our list.

To determine the top 20, we gathered information from the schools and from other sources. We looked at the percentage of students and faculty who belong to the faith; the 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 the mission of the law school.

This year, for the first time, we present the schools in one ranking, as opposed to best schools by denomination. Liberty University School of Law, a Baptist university in Lynchburg, Virginia, is No. 1. ... Regent Law practically tied for No. 1 on our list. ...

“The relationship between law and faith affects both what we do and how we do it,” [Regent Dean Brad] Lingo said. “While others might tell students that lawyers are sharks, we teach that lawyers can be healers of conflict. We teach that law, at its best, provides opportunities to walk with someone during what might be one of the darkest, scariest, loneliest times of their lives.” 

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September 10, 2023 in Faith, Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Girgis Presents Fragility Not Superiority? Assessing The Fairness Of Special Religious Protections At Pepperdine

Sherif Girgis (Notre Dame) presented Fragility Not Superiority? Assessing the Fairness of Special Religious Protections, 171 U. Pa. L. Rev. 147 (2022), at Pepperdine last Thursday as part of our Nootbaar Institute For Law, Religion, and Ethics’ Law, Faith and Religion Colloquium Series sponsored by the Brenden Mann Foundation and hosted by Michael Helfand and Jennifer Koh:

Girgis (2023)Is it fair to grant exemptions from neutral laws to protect religion but not other deep commitments and pursuits, like secular conscience or care-giving bonds? The thirty-year scholarly debate on this question now has legal import, as the Supreme Court stands poised to reverse precedent and restore free exercise exemptions from neutral laws. Whether it should, under stare decisis, turns partly on moral considerations like the fairness issue. And the fairness debate is worth revisiting. Almost everyone has assumed that special religious protections are fair only if religion matters more than other interests. Yet protections for religion might be warranted not because religion is more important, but because it is more needful of protection.

To see if these special protections are indeed fair and necessary, this Article develops a measure of need, based on how all civil liberties work in our system. Our doctrines on speech, abortion (for decades), gun rights, and travel have imposed heightened scrutiny on laws that deny us one means of exercising a liberty without leaving adequate alternatives—i.e., other ways to realize the interests served by that liberty to the same degree and at no greater cost. Thus, an interest will have greater need for this protection, the more that laws burdening some means to it will leave no adequate alternative means—or the more “fragile” the interest is. And even if an interest is fragile (because burdens on it are often too heavy), it will not need protection if it rarely faces burdens, heavy or not—if it is not “exposed.” These two concepts create a framework for assessing all our liberties and limiting their scope.

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September 3, 2023 in Colloquia, Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Scholarship | Permalink

Sunday, August 20, 2023

First Hurricane/Tropical Storm In 84 Years + Earthquake Rock Malibu

Monday, August 14, 2023

Welcome, Pepperdine Caruso Law School Class Of 2026

Launch Week Slide

Welcome to the members of the Pepperdine Caruso Law School Class of 2026 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 we exceeded our enrollment target of 175 and enrolled a class with the highest credentials in the 55-year history of our law school. 

This is my seventh 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 14, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Thursday, August 10, 2023

The Best Law Schools For Practical Training

The Best Law Schools For Practical Training, preLaw (Spring 2023):

You may have heard the phrase “Learn by doing.”

Aristotle highlighted this idea when he said, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

It’s a theory that speaks to the lovers of hands-on learning and posits that students must interact with their environment to learn best. For many law schools, this theory becomes reality through clinics, externships and simulation courses — or what is commonly known as practical training.

Best schools for practical training

Practical Training Methodology
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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August 10, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Bar Exam Lunches

Update: Pepperdine Caruso Law Bar Lunch Program Serves the Class of 2023 Across the Country

One of my favorite Pepperdine Caruso Law traditions is our Bar Exam Lunch Program. We provide lunches for our graduates taking the bar exam, not only in California but throughout the country. Bar takers have enough to worry about without having to navigate getting lunch in the short period between the morning and afternoon sessions. So we provide not only food but a space to relax and unwind with friends before going back into the fray. This year, we have a record 25 faculty, staff, and alumni distributing lunches at 21 locations, thanks to the generosity of 85 donors.

Bar Lunch

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July 26, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Praying For The Bar Exam

On Friday, I participated in one of my favorite traditions at Pepperdine Caruso Law: a virtual prayer session with our graduates taking the bar exam this week:

Bar Exam Prayer

Faculty and staff encourage our graduates to finish strong and remind them that their three years of study have prepared them well for this challenge. I have the honor of praying over them and reminding them that we prayed over each one of their applications three years ago, so this is the perfect way to close this chapter of their time with us and we look forward to welcoming them back to campus for their bar swearing in ceremony in December. We closed with this wonderful song from Numbers 6:24-26:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Update:  Lee Fisher  (Dean, Cleveland State) emailed this prayer he wrote to his graduates last Thursday (reprinted with Lee's permission): 

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July 23, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Pepperdine Law Review Submission Window: August 1-31

Pepperdine Law Review (2021)The Pepperdine Law Review is accepting article submissions from August 1st through 31st for publication in April 2024. The submission link is here. For recent Pepperdine Law Review symposia, see:

July 12, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Michael McConnell And Marcus Cole Receive Religious Liberty Awards

Becket Gala

Michael W. McConnell (Richard and Frances Mallery Professor of Law and Director of the Constitutional Law Center, Stanford) and Marcus Cole (Joseph A. Matson Dean and Professor of Law, Notre Dame) were honored last month at Becket's annual gala in New York City for their work defending religious liberty.

Michael McConnell received the 2023 Canterbury Medal, religious liberty’s highest honor:

The 2023 Canterbury Medal Gala honored Professor Michael W. McConnell, Director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School and a former federal judge, for his decades-long commitment to the cause of religious liberty. As a professor, scholar, advocate, and public servant, Professor McConnell’s career has provided a strong and unfailing defense of religious liberty for all.

In his distinguished career, Professor McConnell has played a key role in advancing the principle of religious freedom for all people. As an advocate, Professor McConnell has argued many religious liberty cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts. Following his unanimous confirmation by the Senate, Professor McConnell served as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit from 2002-2009. He also played a central role in founding the first religious liberty law clinic at Stanford Law School, where he continues to teach courses on constitutional law, the First Amendment, and constitutional history.

Michael McConnell's acceptance speech (video; text).

Marcus Cole received the 2023 Legal Service Award "for his trailblazing expansion of the clinic concept in launching Notre Dame’s Religious Liberty Initiative." Marcus Cole's acceptance speech (text).

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June 25, 2023 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Pepperdine Resiliency Program Equips Students To Address Life's Challenges And Creates A Campus Culture That Values Well-Being

Pepperdine Rise

Inside Higher Ed, Resilience Skills Curriculum Gets Ahead of Student Crisis:

A resiliency skills program at Pepperdine University equips students with tools to address challenges in their lives and create a campus culture that values well-being.

The Resilience Informed Skills Education (RISE) program at Pepperdine University integrates education around resiliency in student life and provides learners with life skills to get ahead of crisis and mitigate distress.

The curriculum, developed by Connie Horton, vice president for student affairs, draws on research to provide six dimensions of resilience. Students first encounter RISE programming in their first term through a credit-based small group, but the program is woven throughout academics, residence life and social programming.

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

U.S. News Law School Rankings Panel At Today's AALS Institutional Advancement Conference


I am moderating the final panel today at the first-ever AALS Institutional Advancement Conference: Making a Difference in a Changing World (registration):

U.S. News Law Rankings (4:30 PM ET)
It’s a whole new world with changes to the US News Law Rankings. Or is it? We’ll hear from those who are covering the U.S. News changes and are grappling with what it all means for law schools.

Moderator:  Paul L. Caron, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law, Pepperdine University, Caruso School of Law


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June 15, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Pepperdine Caruso Law Celebrates The Class Of 2023

Friday, June 9, 2023

One Week Later . . .

Paul at Beach (2013)

It is exactly one week ago to the hour that we put down our beloved sweet dog Josie. I am astonished by how much I miss her. She had been a daily presence in our lives during our entire time at Pepperdine (10 1/2 years). My days would begin with her bounding out of our bed and end with her jumping into our bed as we settled down for the night. In between, she was a full participant in our hectic lives — joining me for early morning tennis at Pepperdine and cardio and weight training in our bedroom, and later for walks in our neighborhood, dinners at our home with students, and beach outings. But my favorite time was the countless hours she slept at my feet while I worked in our dining room — it was so comforting to have her nearby.

I choose to remember the Josie in the photo below, racing toward the setting sun, brimming with excitement at what awaits her, confident that her "binky ball" will magically appear, at just the right spot and bouncing at just the right height for her to jump and catch it in her mouth, so she can trot back to me proud of her accomplishment and drop the binky ball at my feet so I can toss it again and again and again. The difference now is that Josie kept racing toward the setting sun, still brimming with excitement at what awaited her. I take comfort in C.S. Lewis's theology about dogs and heaven, and hope that when my time comes to race toward the setting sun, I will find Josie awaiting me, with a shiny new binky ball at her feet, ready to resume the chase again and again and again.

Beach (2016)

June 9, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Open Conversations At Pepperdine Caruso Law School: Building Culture, Developing Discourse, Nurturing Democracy

Jeffrey R. Baker (Pepperdine; Google Scholar) & Tanya Asim Cooper (Pepperdine; Google Scholar), Open Conversations: Building Culture, Developing Discourse, Nurturing Democracy:

Caruso Logo (Two Lines) (Tight) (2020)[A]t our first Open Conversation, ... [o]ver fifty students attended, and we set out some simple guidance. This was not a teaching moment for the faculty, and it was not a debate. It was a conversation, discourse to share perspectives, an opportunity to speak and listen, to engage across difference, to give voice to pain and anger, to explore paths forward, all from the students’ perspectives and experiences. With general prompts and light moderation while breaking bread together, the conversation was rich, critical, vibrant, heartfelt, and serious. It did not fix all of the issues or resolve all the tension within our school, but it was a moment of genuine community struggling with itself but refusing to alienate each other. 

After that first Open Conversation, we continued to offer them when controversies erupted nationally or locally, refining the approach. ... The broad objective for Open Conversations is to build a healthy culture within our law school community. It is not to resolve every issue or to engage in antagonistic debate; there are plenty of other opportunities for that during law school. Rather, it is to enrich our discourse with care, respect, and dignity, even over the most contentious issues. Moderation and centrism are also not the aims; students advocate and argue in Open Conversations with conviction but within a framework that aims to hold our shared life at the heart of our discussions. In our current national season of extreme polarization, brutal partisanship, personal antagonism, and so-called “cancel culture” (all of which have been topics of our discussions), the Open Conversations are counter-cultural exercises in democratic engagement. 

To these ends, we developed a practice of lightly-moderated discussions over lunch around curated topics with important ground rules for the conversation. We typically have fifty to sixty students and another ten staff and faculty in the room. The ground rules are “conversational harnesses” to preserve the objectives of discourse and engagement, and we share them at the top of each open conversation:

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June 7, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Josie Shands Caron (2007-2023)

UpdateOne Week Later . . .

We put down our beloved dog Josie on Friday and are filled with grief and gratitude. Grief because our home and our lives are emptier now without her. Gratitude because she was everything one could want in a dog.

Josie joined our family in November 2009 when we were living in Cincinnati. We had put down our dog Sandy in 2006, and I had issued a decree: no more dogs. Because our son Reed and daughter Jayne would be leaving for college in August 2009 and August 2010, respectively, my wife Courtney and I did not want to be saddled with a dog in our empty nest years. Jayne took the news particularly hard, as she has a special love for dogs.

In early November 2009, the senior pastor of our church gave a wonderful message on the importance of celebrating important milestones in our lives. He talked about how he was trying to make his high school senior's last year at home special by taking his son on a long road trip on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. After watching a hokey Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie, A Dog Named Christmas, in which a family provides a foster home over Christmas for a dog from a local shelter, I thought that would be a great thing to do for Jayne before she left for college. Following up on the movie, animal shelters nationwide were sponsoring a Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays Promotion, and I found a wonderful participating local shelter. I told Jayne we wanted to make this last Christmas at home a memorable one for her by fostering a dog over the holidays. I made her sign a contract promising that the dog would go back to the shelter on December 26 — no exceptions, and no fuss.

Jayne chose the dog, and we opened our home (and our hearts) to Josie, a mutt mix of Pit Bull, Chow, and German Shepherd. After Josie's first days in our home, Courtney and I decided we would tell Jayne on Christmas morning that we were adopting Josie. We also decided to keep the foster ruse going by dropping Josie off at the shelter on Saturdays so they could bring her to adoption fairs at a local PetSmart. Jayne prayed in the car that Josie would not be adopted, but I said we had to think of Josie's best interests and hope that a wonderful family would adopt her. I worked things out so the shelter would not bring Josie to the adoption fair, and Jayne and I would return three hours later to take Josie home (to Jayne's great relief). It was a very special Christmas, as Jayne cried with delight when she opened the last present under the tree: Josie's adoption papers.

Josie 1

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June 4, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, May 29, 2023

17 Universities And Law Schools Have Full Satellite Campuses In Washington, D.C.

Inside Higher Ed, A Growing Corps of ‘Capital Campuses’:

Satellite campuses are proliferating and expanding in Washington, D.C. Not only do they enhance the student experience, but they also give institutions access to policy makers and grant-writing organizations. ...

Over 40 U.S. colleges and universities have a physical presence in the nation’s capital, ranging from Johns Hopkins University [555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW]—which lies just an hour north in Baltimore—to Pepperdine University [2011 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW], a small Christian institution across the continent in Malibu, Calif.

According to the D.C.-based real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle, 17 of those institutions have full satellite campuses in D.C., complete with classrooms and dorms as well as office space and conference rooms for meetings with policy makers and researchers. In total, nonlocal colleges and universities own about a million square feet of real estate in the city, a little more than one-third of the total aboveground exhibit space occupied by the Smithsonian museums.

Much of this real estate is used to house or provide meeting spaces for student interns, who flock to the city in droves every semester to gain experience in politics, policy making, research and journalism. But higher ed leaders told Inside Higher Ed that they are increasingly looking to establish or fortify bases for developing relationships with policy makers and grant-writing government offices. ...

Students see major benefits of their institutions establishing satellite campuses in D.C.—especially if they include residential space. For some, living and studying in a community of their peers in D.C. is just as important as getting an internship on Capitol Hill or at a federal agency. ...

Mary Caulfield just finished a “semester abroad” at Pepperdine’s D.C. center, an eight-story building with both residential and class space located on Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks from the White House. She had an internship at a magazine but said that having housing resources, night classes and community in one place helped make her experience more comfortable and kept her tied to her institution on the other side of the country.

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May 29, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Pepperdine’s Place In The 2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings

US News (2023)By now most of you have seen the news that Pepperdine Caruso Law ranks #45 in the 2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings. This is the highest ranking in our 54-year history, topping the previous highest rankings in 2021-22 (#46) and 2020-21 (#47). I am pleased that we also received the highest ranking in our history in several components of the rankings, including academic peer reputation and student selectivity (median LSAT scores, median undergraduate GPAs).

We did not join the U.S. News boycott for many of the reasons Georgia Dean Bo Rutledge outlined in the Chronicle of Higher Education. We do not chase rankings at Pepperdine Caruso Law. Instead, we are laser-focused on our strategic priorities, including recruiting a student body each year with stronger academic credentials, a deeper commitment to our Christian mission, and a richer diversity of personal backgrounds, lived experiences, and viewpoints; and preparing them in a one of a kind close knit community to pass the bar exam and secure full-credit legal employment at higher rates. Those priorities produce a rankings benefit as well, and we gladly reap those results. The new methodology adopted by U.S. News in response to the boycott is still far from perfect, but is much better than prior methodologies.

Pepperdine Caruso Law also was recognized by U.S. News with Top 50 rankings in three specialty programs based on our reputation among faculty in those fields:  #2 in dispute resolution, #29 in tax law, and #34 in clinical training, as well as near Top 50 rankings in constitution law (#53), international law (#53), and business|corporate law (#54).

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 Caruso's $50 million naming gift.

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May 11, 2023 in Law School, Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Pepperdine Caruso Law's New Religious Clinic Engages Its First Direct Representation Of Clients: Two New Jersey Churches Denied County Historic Preservation Funds

Pepperdine Caruso Law's new religious liberty clinic has engaged its first direct representation of clients

ComplaintPepperdine Caruso Law’s Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Religious Liberty Clinic, in collaboration with the First Liberty Institute and Jones Day, has filed a federal lawsuit against Morris County, New Jersey on behalf of The Mendham Methodist Church and The Zion Lutheran Church Long Valley in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

The suit challenges Morris County’s policy of excluding houses of worship from the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund, which grants public funds to organizations and entities whose purposes include historic preservation. Past grant recipients have included a local theater, a Masonic lodge, and a restaurant. Meanwhile, two centuries-old churches with a longstanding community presence are excluded from the historic preservation program simply for being faith-based institutions.

“This case is important because we are not asking that churches get anything beyond what any other organizations would receive –– we just ask that churches with substantial interests in historical preservation be considered equally for the same generally available funds that non-religious organizations receive,” said Tiereney Souza, a second-year law student at Pepperdine Caruso Law who helped write the complaint.

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April 30, 2023 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Pepperdine Caruso Law 3L Commissioning Service

3L Commissioning Program (Front & Back)

We hosted our 12th 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.

I was honored to give a gift to our 3Ls to encourage them to live the lives that God has called them to after they graduate: a paperweight to keep on their desks to remind them (on the top) of their time at Pepperdine Caruso Law and (on the bottom) a single word — the most powerful word that Jesus talked about and modeled for us — forgiveness. I shared several of the forgiveness stories I have chronicled on this blog, including this, this, this, this, and this.

CSOL Commissioing Service Forgiveness Paperweight (042022)

The highlight of the evening was when our faculty spoke words of life over each of the graduating 3Ls (kudos to Tyler Clark (JD '12) for beginning this wonderful tradition):

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April 23, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Pepperdine Receives $1.5 Million Templeton Religion Trust Grant For ‘Covenantal Pluralism Project’

Pepperdine University Receives $1.5 Million Templeton Religion Trust Grant for ‘Covenantal Pluralism Project’:

ThamesPepperdine University has received a grant of $1,531,920 from the Templeton Religion Trust (TRT) to launch the “Covenantal Pluralism Project: Promoting Covenantal Pluralism Through Heritage, Coalitions, and Advocacy.”

As a grantee of TRT, Knox Thames will join Pepperdine University as a senior fellow with the Caruso School of Law and the School of Public Policy. After 20 years of government service in various diplomatic roles, Thames will direct the Program on Global Faith and Inclusive Societies, which will develop innovative approaches to foster an appreciation for diversity, pluralism and the rights of others. 

“Pepperdine University is delighted to add a scholar and practitioner of Knox Thames’ quality and caliber to our campus community,” said President Jim Gash. “Thames’ Covenantal Pluralism Project will develop innovative pathways and bolster current efforts for covenantal pluralism by advancing religious freedom and religious literacy through faith communities, popular culture, governments and human rights organizations. His work will contribute to the mission of Pepperdine, provide our students with cutting-edge ideas and perspectives, and enrich the congenial milieu of our university.”

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March 26, 2023 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Pepperdine Caruso Law Celebrates $50 Million Naming Gift At Annual Dinner With President George W. Bush

We had planned to celebrate our October 2019 $50 million naming gift (more here) at our 50th anniversary law school dinner in March 2020, but Covid forced several postponements. After waiting 1,082 days (!), over 1,000 members of our community gathered at the Beverly Hilton for a spectacular evening of celebration, faith, and humor.

3L Tyler Lisea opened the festivities and introduced Asha Madukar (JD '19), who sang a stirring rendition of How Great Thou Art, accompanied on the piano by her father Joel. 3L Ana Rodriguez, President of the Christian Legal Society, introduced Judge Consuelo Maria Callahan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, who delivered a wonderful invocation. 1L Keanu Mayo led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by this video honoring Ken Starr, Dean of Pepperdine Caruso Law School from 2004-2010, who passed away on September 13, 2022:

Dinner was then served. Rick Caruso and I had the great honor of sitting next to President Bush — I am so glad the photographer captured this great photo of President Bush enjoying himself at the dinner:

Bush Caruso Caron Joke (CSOL Dinner 032223)

Following the dinner, 1L Christian Parham introduced Pepperdine President Jim Gash (JD '93), who introduced President Bush and Rick Caruso for a fascinating 45-minute wide-ranging conversati0n replete with much laughter:

Bush Caruso (CSOL Dinner 03223)

President Gash and I presented President Bush with a gift: a bomber jacket with the Pepperdine Caruso Law Seal (riffing off the iconic photo of President Bush in a bomber jacket with the Presidential Seal):

Bush Caruso Gash Caron Bomber Jacket (CSOL Dinner 032223)

President Gash delivered his remarks, emphasizing how the gift from Rick and Tina Caruso to the law school had galvanized fundraising at the university, including the acquisition and renovation of Château d'Hauteville in Switzerland and the construction of The Mountain at Mullin Park on our Malibu campus.

I delivered my remarks, emphasizing how the Caruso gift has catapulted the law school forward in many ways, including recruiting students with the the highest entering credentials (164 median LSAT & 3.85 median UGPA), and launching them into full-credit jobs at the highest rate (92%), in our history. The gift enabled us to lower the average student debt of our graduates by $58,000 and to make 100% of the student loan payments of every graduate working in the public interest. We were able to recruit four outstanding tenure-track teachers and scholars who have already published in the nation's best law reviews — e.g., Harvard, Yale, Chicago, and Pennsylvania. And our average U.S. News ranking over the past four years is #49, the highest in our history.

The Caruso gift also has galvanized fundraising at the law school, including our 50 For 50 Campaign, which raised $3.5 million for student scholarships from 55 donors contributing $50,000 or more. I was pleased to be able to thank those of our thirty-two $1 million-plus donors who were in attendance at the dinner: Jeanette and Michael (JD '74) Bidart, Tina and Rick (JD '83) Caruso, Anna and Thomas Fessler (JD '83), Michelle (JD '89) and Mark ('88) Hiepler, Janet Kerr (JD '78), Rick Stack on behalf of the Hugh & Hazel Darling Foundation, and Judge Danny Weinstein

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March 25, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

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 Ed Tech, 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