Paul L. Caron
Dean




Friday, June 28, 2019

Pepperdine Law Professors Make Waves In Washington, D.C.

D.C.Pepperdine Law Professors Make Waves in Washington, D.C.:

Last year, two Professors of Law at Pepperdine were tapped to hold influential positions in the United States government, a testament to our faculty’s commitment to scholarship and service. Babette Boliek was appointed by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to serve as its 2018-19 Chief Economist. Donald “Trey” Childress began serving as the Counselor on International Law in the Office of the Legal Advisor in the U.S. State Department.

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June 28, 2019 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 2, 2019

My Two Year Anniversary

Yesterday marked my two year anniversary as dean of Pepperdine Law School. It has been an absolute joy and privilege to serve in this role. My love for this university and its people has only grown since my first day on the job. My second year was marked by wild swings from gut-wrenching lows to joyful highs.

Our community was scarred by the November 7 death of Seaver College freshman Alaina Housley in the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill, followed the next day by the Woolsey fire that caused massive destruction in Malibu but spared the Pepperdine campus. 

Fire

Pepperdine was closed for seventeen days, and when we reopened on November 26 I was at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute having emergency surgery for detached retinas in both of my eyes. As I wrote two days later, Pepperdine Law Rises From The Ashes: Better, Stronger, United.

For the second year in a row, we made great progress on our strategic priorities as we:

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June 2, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Pepperdine Law School Seeks To Fill Two Development Positions

PEPPERDINE CAMPUS WITH LOGO (2019)Pepperdine Law is seeking to fill two development positions due to the  departure of Associate Dean Jim Gash to become President of Pepperdine University and Director of Development Ben Gifford to become an Assistant U.S. Attorney. This is an exciting time to join the leadership team at Pepperdine Law and build on our success over the past two years in raising over $20 million in new endowment gifts  (the most in any two-year period in our law school's 50-year history) as we continue our rise:

Assistant Vice Chancellor and Senior Director of Development, School of Law:

The Assistant Vice Chancellor and Senior Director of Development will have primary responsibility for developing, organizing, leading, and implementing a comprehensive fundraising program and strategies for the School of Law and plays an important front-line fundraising role. As a major gift officer, this position will be expected to personally raise major gifts in support of the dean’s fundraising priorities, focusing on donors with a capacity of $25,000 to $1M+. In addition, the Assistant Vice Chancellor and Senior Director of Development will mentor and supervise the Director, Law Associates, the annual giving officer at the School of Law whose primary focus is on gifts of $1K to $25K.

Director, Law Associates:

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April 24, 2019 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dorothy Brown: Goodbye, But Not Farewell

Dorothy

Dorothy Brown headed back to Emory yesterday after completing her stint at Pepperdine as our Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor. She left behind one old friend and countless new ones. She regaled our students in Federal Income Tax and Tax Policy, which she co-taught (cough) with a frazzled dean. I will have three lasting memories of Dorothy's time here: (1) the great tax workshop series we put together, with seven outstanding speakers and wonderful post-presentation lunches; (2) the wonderful Critical Tax Conference we co-hosted, particularly Dorothy's fiery keynote address, The Life of a Tax Crit: When Keeping It Real Can Go Really Really Wrong; and (3) most importantly, the relationships Dorothy developed in her four months here, particularly with the students and staff (perhaps never before has a Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor (certainly not me) taken several staff people out for meals and given them gifts on her departure). We hope Dorothy will be back in Malibu in the future, initially as part of our Spring 2020 tax workshop series.

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April 24, 2019 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Pepperdine Tax, Tax, Tax Prof Moves | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 14, 2019

2020 U.S. News Dispute Resolution Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiUpdate: 2021 U.S. News Dispute Resolution Rankings

The new 2020 U.S. News Dispute Resolution Rankings include the dispute resolution programs at 92 law schools (the faculty survey had a 54% response rate). Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.5 Ohio State
2 4.4 Pepperdine
3 4.3 Harvard
3 4.3 Missouri (Columbia)
5 4.1 Mitchell Hamline
5 4.1 UNLV
7 4.0 Oregon
8 3.9 Cardozo
8 3.9 Marquette
10 3.8 Arizona State
10 3.8 Northwestern
10 3.8 UC-Hastings
13 3.7 Maryland
13 3.7 Texas A&M
15 3.5 Quinnipiac
16 3.4 Suffolk
17 3.3 Columbia
17 3.3 Georgetown
17 3.3 Stanford
17 3.3 UC-Davis
21 3.2 Creighton
21 3.2 Fordham
21 3.2 Texas Tech
24 3.1 Florida
24 3.1 Lewis & Clark
24 3.1 Michigan
24 3.1 Nebraska
24 3.1 Texas
24 3.1 USC
24 3.1 Washington Univ.
31 3.0 South Texas
31 3.0 Stetson
31 3.0 UC-Berkeley
31 3.0 Willamette
35 2.9 Baltimore
35 2.9 Chicago-Kent
35 2.9 Kansas
35 2.9 Pace
35 2.9 Penn State (Dickinson)
35 2.9 Pennsylvania
35 2.9 St. John's
35 2.9 UCLA
35 2.9 Univ. of Washington
44 2.8 Arkansas (Little Rock)
44 2.8 Georgia State
44 2.8 Houston
44 2.8 Michigan State
44 2.8 Northeastern
44 2.8 NYU
44 2.8 William & Mary

As I blogged last fall, U.S. News has dramatically changed their ranking of the nine law school specialty programs:

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March 14, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

2020 U.S. News Tax Rankings

6a00d8341c4eab53ef0240a490199b200b-250wiUpdate: 2021 U.S. News Tax Rankings

As I blogged last fall, U.S. News has dramatically changed their ranking of nine law school specialty programs:

Law school specialty rankings ... are based solely on peer assessments by law school faculty who teach in that specialty area. The peer assessment surveys for the specialty law school area rankings were conducted in fall 2018 and early 2019 by U.S. News.

This year for the first time, law school faculty members who teach in each specialty area rated the other law schools in that specialty area on a 5-point scale. Those schools with the highest average scores among those raters who rated them appear in the rankings and are ranked in descending order based on their average peer score they received in that specialty area. In all the previous law school specialty rankings, the law school raters chose their top 15 in a specialty area. This new methodology produced a significantly larger number of schools that were ranked in each specialty area – in some cases five or six times more. ... [A]ll programs that received 10 or more ratings are numerically ranked in that specialty. Schools with less than 10 ratings in a specialty aren't listed. [The response rate of the tax faculty survey was 50%.].

The new 2020 U.S. News Tax Rankings include the tax programs at 175 law schools. Here are the Top 50:

Rank Score School
1 4.9 NYU
2 4.5 Georgetown
3 4.4 Florida
4 4.2 Northwestern
5 4.1 Virginia
6 4.0 Columbia
6 4.0 Stanford
8 3.9 Harvard
8 3.9 UC-Irvine
8 3.9 UCLA
11 3.8 Chicago
11 3.8 Michigan
11 3.8 Pennsylvania
14 3.7 Boston College
14 3.7 Boston University
14 3.7 Duke
14 3.7 Loyola-L.A.
14 3.7 USC
14 3.7 Texas
20 3.6 Indiana (Maurer)
20 3.6 Yale
22 3.5 San Diego
23 3.4 UC-Berkeley
24 3.2 Miami
25 3.1 Temple
25 3.1 UC-Hastings
25 3.1 Minnesota
25 3.1 North Carolina
25 3.1 Pittsburgh
25 3.1 Univ. of Washington
25 3.1 Villanova
32 3.0 Florida State
32 3.0 Fordham
32 3.0 George Washington
32 3.0 Pepperdine
32 3.0 UC-Davis
37 2.9 BYU
37 2.9 Alabama
37 2.9 Georgia
37 2.9 Houston
37 2.9 Washington & Lee
37 2.9 Washington Univ.
43 2.8 Arizona State
43 2.8 Georgia State
43 2.8 Notre Dame
46 2.7 Brooklyn
46 2.7 Emory
46 2.7 Ohio State
46 2.7 Tulane
46 2.7 Illinois
46 2.7 Iowa
46 2.7 William & Mary

Among the law schools in the tax rankings last year, ranked last year Here are the biggest upward moves:

  • +13:  Stanford (#6)
  • +8:  Chicago (#11), Penn (#11)
  • +6:  Columbia (#6)
  • +5:  Duke (#14)

Here are the biggest downward moves:

  • -30:  Denver (55)
  • -8:  Univ. of Washington (#25)
  • -7:  Boston University (#14)
  • -6:  Loyola-L.A. (#14), San Diego (#22)
  • -5:  Yale (#20)

Here are the rankings of law schools with graduate tax programs:

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March 13, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Pepperdine Tax, Tax, Tax Rankings | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Pepperdine’s Place In The 2020 U.S. News Law School Rankings

U.S. News Law (2019)By now many of you have seen the news that Pepperdine Law has risen to #51 in the 2020 U.S. News Law School Rankings. Our rise is especially gratifying in light of the decision by U.S. News last year to remove us from the rankings when we self-reported a single data reporting error one week before the publication date (for more details, see the links at the bottom of this post).

We have improved our ranking from #72 in 2017 to (unofficially) #62 in 2018 and #51 in 2019. This 21-point increase in our ranking over the past two years is the largest increase of any law school among the Top 100 law schools as ranked by U.S. News. We are in the second year of our plan to reduce the size of the student body by 20% to increase the quality of all aspects of our academic program.

We do not chase rankings at Pepperdine 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 proud that our rankings rise is driven by the increasing selectivity of our incoming 1L class, the improved outcomes achieved by our graduates, the additional resources we have been able to deploy to improve our students’ educational experience, and our growing reputation among legal academics, lawyers, and judges.

Pepperdine Law also was recognized by U.S. News for excellence in several specialty programs in rankings voted on by faculty in those fields, including rankings of #2 in dispute resolution, #32 in tax law, and #33 in clinical training.

This news is especially meaningful to us following the Woolsey Fire last August which caused massive destruction in Malibu and threatened Pepperdine. Thanks to great planning by our university and the heroic efforts of firefighters on the ground and in the air, not a single building on campus was lost (for more, see the links at the bottom of this post).

Fire High Res 5 (No Ocean)

I have a confession to make. Our annual law school dinner is ordinarily held each year in early March. But after last year’s rankings hiccup, I decided to move this year’s dinner to March 30 so it would take place after the release of the new law school rankings. I was so confident about the direction of our law school that we decided that the theme of this year’s dinner would be that Pepperdine Law is “on the rise.” As I wrote when we re-opened the law school after being closed for 17 days after the fire (and following my emergency surgery for detached retinas in both of my eyes), Pepperdine Law Rises From The Ashes: Better, Stronger, United.

Dinner

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage of Pepperdine's 2019 U.S. News ranking: 

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage of the impact of the Woolsey Fire on Pepperdine:

Update

Law.com, Latest US News Law School Ranking Offers Few Surprises:

Back on the list this year is Pepperdine University School of Law, which nearly cracked the top 50, coming in at No. 51. U.S. News left Pepperdine off the rankings last year after the school flagged a mistake in the figures it had reported to U.S. News pertaining to the median LSAT score of its newest class. (U.S. News provides each school an early copy of the list to check the accuracy of the data.) School administrators predicted that Pepperdine would have claimed the 62nd position had the correct LSAT number been factored in. The school’s last official ranking was No. 72.

Pepperdine law dean Paul Caron said he believes his widely read TaxProfBlog has helped spread the word about the law school and raise awareness of its strengths. That exposure, coupled with the stronger credentials and employment outcomes that the school has achieved due to smaller class sizes, has bolstered its ranking, he said.

“Our law school dinner is ordinarily held each year in early March,” Caron said. “But after last year’s rankings hiccup, I decided to move this year’s dinner to March 30 so it would take place after the release of the new law school rankings. I was so confident about the direction of our law school that we decided that the theme of this year’s dinner would be that Pepperdine Law is ‘on the rise.’ I am glad I was right, or it would have been a very awkward dinner!”

The Recorder, Stanford Holds Steady, USC Jumps 2 Spots In Latest US News Law School Ranking:

This year's list is unusually stable compared with previous years. But Pepperdine University School of Law nearly cracked the top 50 after the school was omitted from the list last year after flagging a mistake in the figures it reported pertaining to the median LSAT score of its newest class.

Above the Law, This Law School Had A Great Year — At Least According To The Latest U.S. News Rankings:

After a big snafu last year, the law school's back on track.

According to the leaked U.S. News Law School Rankings for 2020, what school’s ranking increased the most?

Hint: Due to some misreporting, the school was unranked in the 2019 rankings, but the 2020 list puts them up 21 spots from where they were in 2018.

Answer: Pepperdine. You can find out all about last years rankings misadventure for the school here, and read all about this year’s rankings here.

Above the Law, The LEAKED 2020 U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Here:

Way to go, Pepperdine! After a rankings hiccup last year that landed the school among the unranked thanks to some misreporting, the school has soared.

March 12, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, February 17, 2019

2019 Religious Law School Rankings

Most Devout Law Schools

The Most Devout Law Schools (preLaw Winter 2019):

We gathered detailed information from the religiously-affiliated schools and from other sources. From that data, we compiled a ranking based on: percentage and activity of students who belong to the faith; percentage and activity of faculty who belong to the faith; number of religion-focused courses and other ways the school incorporates the faith into the curricula; religion-related journals, centers and clinics; religious services and clergy at the law school; mission of the law school.

Most Devout Christian Law Schools:

  1. Liberty
  2. Regent
  3. Trinity
  4. BYU
  5. Pepperdine
  6. Baylor
  7. Faulkner
  8. Belmont
  9. Campbell
  10. Concordia

Here is the description of Pepperdine's #5 ranking:

At Pepperdine, social events and official ceremonies begin with prayer. That’s a significant part of the school’s culture. “It is not unusual that business meetings will likewise be convened with a request to God for prudence, understanding and guidance,” the school’s website notes. “Many of Pepperdine’s professors and administrators take the time to spiritually encourage and pray with students and others who need the care that those who profess faith are called to give.” Pepperdine is affiliated with Churches of Christ, but students of all faiths are welcome.

Most Devout Catholic Law Schools:

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February 17, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Law School Diversity Rankings

Diversity

Most Diverse Law Schools (preLaw Winter 2019):

Diversity has increased significantly since the early 1980s, and progress continues. In an effort to track that, The National Jurist has assessed and graded law schools for diversity every other year since 2013.

This year, 60 law schools made our honor roll, which is determined by evaluating the percentage of minority faculty members [30%] and the percentage of students in five racial groups and comparing those to national averages [70%].

This year, 20 law schools received an A+

Top 20

12 law schools received an A grade (ranked 21-32)

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February 11, 2019 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Princeton Review's Best 165 Law Schools (2019 Edition)

Princeton ReviewThe Princeton Review has published the 2019 edition of The Best 165 Law Schools (press release) (FAQs) (methodology):

The Princeton Review tallied its lists based on its surveys of 17,700 students attending the 165 law schools [an average of 107 per school] in 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18. The 80-question survey asked students to rate their schools on several topics and report on their experiences. Some ranking list tallies also factored in school-reported data.

Best Professors:  Based on student answers to survey questions concerning how good their professors are as teachers and how accessible they are outside the classroom.

  1. Virginia
  2. Duke
  3. Chicago
  4. Stanford
  5. Washington & Lee
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Pepperdine
  8. Boston College
  9. Vanderbilt
  10. Boston University

Best Quality of Life:  Based on student answers to survey questions on: whether there is a strong sense of community at the school, whether differing opinions are tolerated in the classroom, the location of the school, the quality of social life at the school, the school's research resources (library, computer and database resources).

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November 27, 2018 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Pepperdine Disaster Relief Clinic Helps California Fire Victims

PDRPepperdine Legal Clinics Aid California Fire Victims:

The Pepperdine School of Law instituted the Disaster Relief Clinic this semester in response to the need of the hundreds of individuals affected by the local Thomas fires, as well as the Texas hurricanes. Through this program, law students are able to provide pro-bono legal services to those who would not otherwise be able to afford it.

The School of Law’s Clinical Education Program includes 10 separate clinics this semester. ... “When teaching students, we also manifest our mission to the world and try to contribute to our communities and our neighbors and serve people who need it,” Director of Clinical Education and Associate Clinical Professor of Law Jeffrey Baker said. ... “Generally, the legal clinics are our teaching law firm inside the law school. So we actually practice real law for real clients…and students work under faculty supervision to get experience practicing law,” Baker said.

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February 23, 2018 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 24, 2017

C.S. Lewis & Lin-Manuel Miranda: How I Found My Faith In Mere Christianity And Deepened It In Hamilton

MCH2I repeatedly (perhaps excessively) extol the genius of Hamilton (see links below). I often tell people that the play changed my life and led me to seek the deanship of Pepperdine law school.  

Part of the explanation, of course, is the artistic majesty of the play. Like Michelle Obama, I think it is the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life. Like Oskar Eustis, I believe that Lin-Manuel Miranda is the William Shakespeare of our time. But Hamilton also transformed my life like nothing else has since I read C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity twenty-one years ago. 

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July 24, 2017 in Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pepperdine University Seeks To Hire Tenure-Track And Visiting Undergraduate Business Law Professors

PepperdineAssistant Professor of Business Law

The business administration division of Pepperdine University seeks a candidate with a terminal degree in law for a tenure-track position in business law. Candidates are expected to complete all requirements for the JD before the date of appointment, which is August 1, 2017. A documented research interest in law is required and teaching experience is preferred. The expected courses taught would be undergraduate classes in business law and international business. The flexibility to teach occasionally in another field is preferred.

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July 21, 2016 in Legal Ed News, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

L.A. Times: Pepperdine's Surf Chapel

SurfCool front page story in the L.A. Times:  At Pepperdine's Surf Chapel, Prayers Come in Waves:

On such a gray, nippy morning, most self-respecting college students would pull the covers over their heads and languish for a couple of extra hours in the sack.

But Asa Miller drove 30 miles from Simi Valley to greet the dawn at Zuma Beach.

After spending six years in the Navy, Miller sometimes feels at sea as a 24-year-old freshman at Pepperdine University in Malibu. That's why he heads to Surf Chapel, a weekly convocation on the sand, to help him get his bearings — by combining a little bit of God and a little bit of wave action.

"Surf Chapel is a chance to refocus the soul and mind," Miller said. "Being by the beach in the morning gives me perspective, reminding me of my place." ...

Surf Chapel is spearheaded by Rob Shearer, an assistant professor who teaches undergraduate students the decidedly secular topics of business statistics and quantitative decision-making.

Each Wednesday morning, he carries his surfboard and his New American Standard Bible and wades into the sacred realm of the outdoors, where he expounds the merits of religious belief and community building. ...

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March 29, 2015 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pepperdine Tragedy

AdamsonTerry Jill Adamson, Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Pepperdine, and her family were involved in a horrific hot air balloon accident this morning in Switzerland. From the Malibu Times:

Grant Adamson, descendant of Malibu’s first family, was killed early Tuesday morning when a hot air balloon carrying him and his family crashed near the western Swiss town of Montbovon, according to multiple news reports. Adamson’s wife Terry, 55, and his daughters, 24 and 20, reportedly sustained life-threatening injuries.

Police in the state of Fribourg say Adamson, 55, died at the scene when the balloon fell 165 feet after crashing into an electric power line while attempting to land at 8:35 a.m., after a two-hour flight from the town of Chateau-d’Oex, according to the Associated Press. Terry Adamson and the two daughters were evacuated to the hospital by helicopter.

August 6, 2013 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (2)