This year at the Pepperdine School of Law has been a whirlwind of activity. I have been so gratified with the spirit of community, mutual support, and common purpose that pervades this law school. The commitment that our faculty and the University make to be in service to our students and the world is a working reality here. Every faculty office door is open and welcoming to our students. Our work is characterized by constant care for the academic, personal, and spiritual needs of our students. At the same time, members of our faculty continue to engage in robust and rich scholarly endeavors that are recognized for their excellence throughout the legal profession and beyond.
Our alumni are in leadership positions throughout the profession, and model the ideal of the Pepperdine lawyer leading lives of service and purpose. In short, I am humbled by the opportunity to work with a law school with a strong and obvious sense of its mission, aspirations, and commitments. It is a privilege to be the dean of such a school.
The”Tour” has made me feel like a rock star! I just need a T-shirt that lists all my stops! Every stop has been energizing and affirming. I thank all those hundreds of alumni and friends who have made the tour so rewarding. You have stepped up to help your law school in remarkable ways. I am so grateful personally and your law school is strengthened by your contributions.
The faculty has been hard at work on the curriculum this year. After having studied law school curricula nationally and the recommendations of various groups studying legal education, I concluded that Pepperdine needed to take a hard look at its curriculum to stay competitive and to serve the needs of our students in a rapidly changing legal environment. At a recent faculty meeting, I am gratified to say, the faculty voted to change significantly the first-year curriculum beginning with next year‚Äôs 1L class. This change brings the Pepperdine first-year curriculum more closely into line with the prevailing norms at other law schools around the country. I give the faculty enormous credit for their bold willingness to change the curriculum.
We have the most beautiful spot on earth to study law, but our building needs some updating! If you have been in the building lately, I hope you noticed that the atrium has undergone a bit of a facelift. I am grateful to President Benton for providing funds for us to replace the furniture and carpet. Also, the plant is gone and the old brown lockers are gone. Instead, many alumni and friends stepped up to purchase new, much-improved lockers for our students. These are just beginning steps toward a much-needed building renovation, which must await a generous donor who might help with this important project.
It has been a great year! Our moot court and trial teams have won almost everything they entered! We had a wonderful School of Law Dinner with Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of Canada and my former colleague, Robert Henry, president of Oklahoma City University. The law school achieved, for the first time, a ranking in the top 50 law schools in the country. Our first-year class is the most academically qualified in the history of the school. The list goes on and on! Above all, our alumni and friends have been my partners and fellow advocates for the Pepperdine Law School. I treasure these relationships and look forward to continuing to work toward our mutual aspirations for this law school.
Finally, I close with a note of gratitude for the leadership and service that Tim Perrin has given to Pepperdine University and the School of Law. He leaves us to serve as president of Lubbock Christian University, where he will bring his characteristic thoughtful, spirit-driven, wise leadership to that great institution. We will miss him, but wish him and his family all the best in this new adventure. Our prayers are with them.
Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean
and Professor of Law