The Pepperdine School of Law hosted the 40th Annual Law Dinner on February 23 at the Beverly Hilton International Ballroom.
The black-tie optional event welcomed more than 700 guests, and featured a fireside chat with a panel of School of Law alumni whose journeys and values epitomize the unique contribution that the school has made to the legal field.
The alumni panel included Michael J. Bidart (JD ’74), senior and managing partner, Shernoff Bidart Echeverria Bentley LLP; Stephen M. Shefsky (JD ’82), president and CEO, Cancap Investments, Ltd.; the Honorable Tricia A. Bigelow (JD ’86). presiding justice, California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight; Richard Cho (JD ’97), general manager, Charlotte Bobcats; and Brittney M. Lane (JD ’12), judicial clerk to the Honorable Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain. There was a special performance by George D. Rowe (JD ’95), songwriter and recording artist, Front Rowe Entertainment, as well as additional musical entertainment from the Bernie James Jazz Septet.
“On behalf of all legal education, I ask you to be spokespersons for the next generation of lawyers and judges who will lead our children and grandchildren into yet a more civilized society,” said School of Law dean Deanell Reece Tacha. She followed her challenge by recognizing the Pepperdine School of Law faculty, acknowledging their contributions to legal education and their “brilliant” contributions to the Pepperdine community.
The alumni panel discussion included an array of topics that ranged from the participants’ experiences both as law students and more recently as professionals. Bidart reflected on his time at the School of Law’s original Santa Ana campus, touching on his upbringing on a dairy farm in Chino, California.
“This was an exciting time for a farm kid from Chino,” Bidart said. “I will never forget it.”
Lane, who came to Pepperdine after graduating from Harvard University with a 4.0 GPA, described why she chose Pepperdine.
“There were two things that I found missing from my education as an undergraduate at Harvard,” Lane said. “It was a fantastic place, and it’s opened a lot of doors for me. But I found that my faith and a sense of community were not there when I was at Harvard. If I was going to go into law, I wanted my faith to be part of my education. I wanted the community to be part of my education.”
The Honorable Tricia Bigelow spoke about her time as a judge.
“I’ve been really blessed to be on the bench for the last 17 years,” she said. “It’s never a dull moment, and it’s really better than L.A. Law or any other soap opera you can imagine. I’ve been there when victims of sexual assault recount their experiences. Families of murder victims experience what it’s like to have lost someone. I had the privilege of being able to shape the law most recently in my experience in the court of appeal. It’s a pleasure and a privilege and a job that I only hope that I measure up to.”
Dean Tacha reflected on the evening saying, “The School of Law Dinner is a highlight of the academic year for our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends. This year’s dinner was especially meaningful because it featured so many of our alumni and students who are making extraordinary contributions to the law and the legal profession.”
Prior to the dinner, students and alumni gathered on the Malibu campus for the final round of the Dalsimer Moot Court Competition.
“The final round of the Dalsimer Competition was, for the first time, judged by three Pepperdine Law alumni who hold high judicial office,” said Dean Tacha. “We are so proud of the achievements of our alumni, students, faculty, and staff.”