“First principles” matter to me.
Whether in the law, in one’s faith, or in one’s personal and professional conduct, the ever-present construct of first principles must guide us in life’s many endeavors. It was so for me as a judge. It will be so for me as a dean and member of the Pepperdine community.
Several first principles called me to accept the position of dean at this great law school, including the university’s commitment to be a law school dedicated to excellence in the Christian legal education context. Personally, one of the first principles that will guide my work and channel my energy is my clear understanding of the stewardship responsibility I assume from the extraordinary deans who have preceded me: from Ron Phillips, the inspired and inspiring founding dean, through my dear friend and colleague, Ken Starr, who catapulted this law school into national prominence, to Tom Bost, who has so thoughtfully continued this tradition of outstanding leaders. I draw my direction and enthusiasm from this first principle: Pepperdine University School of Law is a force in American legal education due, in no small measure, to this history of excellent leadership. With humility, I will seek to carry on this great tradition as the next chapter of our beloved law school’s history unfolds.
Although new to this post, I have already learned much about why Pepperdine School of Law has achieved such a position of national prominence. The credit starts at the top. President Andrew Benton and Provost Darryl Tippens are manifestly among the greatest believers in this law school, its achievements and its potential.
I look forward to working with them to realize our mutual aspirations. But no credible institution of higher education is defined solely by its administration. Good students, outstanding faculty, dedicated staff, and generous alumni and friends define and chart the future for great institutions.
This law school is blessed with students of high intellectual abilities who consistently choose Pepperdine for their own first principle reasons. Similarly, the faculty with its extraordinary credentials and dedication to excellence in teaching and scholarship embody the kind of first principles legal education aspires to bring to the legal profession. The staff of this law school consists of friends and colleagues who resolutely share the mission and vision to pursue the quest for enhancing the quality of every aspect of the Pepperdine experience.
Finally, I am already overwhelmed at the level of engagement, support, and thoughtful guidance alumni and friends of our law school provide. I thank you for all you do—and enthusiastically look forward to working with you to further the noble endeavor in which we are mutually committed. May this be an endeavor of joy based on our shared “first principles!”
Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean
and Professor of Law