August 24, 2017 | By Jessie Fahy
Over the past three years, a group of Pepperdine Law alumni have been building upon and improving the Pepperdine Law alumni network in Orange County. Founded in January 2015 under the leadership of Laurel Brauer (JD ‘94, Board of Visitors Member), the initial vision was simple: “If we build it, they will come.” A group of alumni met in March 2015 in Laurel’s Irvine office and began building the “thing” that would draw out the over 1,700 alumni in Orange County.
Pepperdine Law is no stranger to beautiful OC. Orange University College of Law, our predecessor, was founded in 1964. It was transferred to Pepperdine in 1969. Judge Vincent Dalsimer, who was part-time Dean at the time of the transfer, remained Dean throughout the first year of Pepperdine’s operation until the role was assumed by Dean Ronald Phillips. The original campus still sits just miles away from the monthly PLAN-OC meetings at Brauer’s law office. Many of our first alumni stayed local and have contributed to the legal community in Orange County since the 1960s. Additionally, many of our alumni moved to Orange County after graduating from the Malibu campus. Roughly 20% of our alumni network live in the county south of Los Angeles.
On August 2, 2015, PLAN-OC officially kicked off when almost one hundred alumni from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s gathered for the inaugural Orange County Alumni Summer Celebration at the home of alumnus Doug Mahaffey (JD ‘86) of the Mahaffey Law Group. Doug’s home was a fitting place to start a dynamic group, and the program and alumni stories at the event did not disappoint.
Dean Emeritus Ron Phillips commenced the program. Brauer shared her vision to establish strong ties between alumni in Orange County and build a great Pepperdine community. Judge Jim DiCesare (JD ‘73) spoke of his continuing support of the law school and his delight in the founding of the group. “It is the people that make the difference at Pepperdine,” many remarked. Doris Feltner (JD ’74) shared that she was the “very first Editor in Chief of the very first edition of the very first Pepperdine Law Review.” The rich diversity of classes and ages represented at the celebration was encouraging.
Since the first event, PLAN-OC has been meeting regularly to develop and strategize how to engage more Pepperdine Law alumni in Orange County. From “young” alumni mixers to MCLE programs, and even through service opportunities, the network has been busy. Last summer, Gibson Dunn in Orange County hosted an evening reception with several local Orange County Pepperdine Law alumni on the bench.
In May 2017, a new group of leaders took over as PLAN-OC chairs: Alex Avery (JD ‘15), Jennifer Bradford (JD ‘99) and Jamin Soderstrom (JD ‘08). In addition, John Saginaw (JD ‘75) has taken over as the Chair of the Social Events Committee and done an excellent job overseeing PLAN-OC social events. They are all excited to lead the group into the next year and continue to oversee the success of the group.
The Third Annual PLAN-OC Celebration will take place at Doug Mahaffey’s home in Newport Beach on Sunday, September 10, 2017. We hope you will join us – here is the link to register. We have more events planned for our OC alumni throughout the year. For all those interested in being involved in the Pepperdine Law Orange County community, you can find PLAN-OC on LinkedIn, Facebook, or by emailing Alumni Director Jessie Fahy (JD ‘11) at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to building a distinguished legacy in the place that gave Pepperdine Law its start. We are building it, and we do hope you will come!
Pepperdine Law Alumni Orange County Executive Committee members (past and present) include: Alex Avery (JD ‘15), Jimmy Azadian (JD ’01), David Boyadzhyan (JD ‘16), Jennifer Bradford (JD ’99), Laurel Brauer (JD ’94), Cheryl Canty (JD ’86), Jim Daily (JD ’89), Garrett Fahy (JD ’09), Pete Gimino (JD ’98), Gunnar Gunderson (JD ’07), Doug Mahaffey (JD ’86), Colleen McCarthy (JD ’00), Meldie Moore (JD ’94), Michele Maryott (JD ‘97), Michael Morea (JD ’14), John Saginaw (JD ’75), Eric Salbert (JD ’10), Stefanie Sitzer (JD ‘13), Jamin Soderstrom (JD ’07), Bruce Seymour (JD ’80), Spencer Waldron (JD ’11), Ashley Waters (JD ’13), Corey Webster (JD ‘10), Will Wysong (JD ’13), and Andy Zembles (JD ’97).