Law Professors’ Scholarly Work Leads to Appointments in Washington, DC

August 6, 2018 | Two members of Pepperdine Law’s faculty and administration—Professor Babette Boliek and Professor Donald (“Trey”) Childress—have been appointed to serve in important federal government positions for the coming year. These appointments highlight Pepperdine’s long-standing commitment to scholarship and public service with both Boliek and Childress accepting positions in their fields of research and teaching, leveraging their expertise to inform decision-making at the highest levels of government.

Boliek, who holds both a Ph.D. in Economics and a J.D., is a nationally renowned expert in both the law and the economics of the communications industries, has been appointed Chief Economist of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by Chairman Ajit Pai. As the FCC chief economist, Boliek will advise the Chairman, Commissioners, Bureaus, and Offices on economic issues.

As Chairman Pai noted in the FCC’s official announcement, Boliek “has deep experience” in both law and economics, further explaining that “[a]dding an extraordinarily talented, well-respected expert like Dr. Boliek to our team will help us continue to make well-informed decisions that reflect basic principles of economics as well as the rule of law.”  Reacting to the appointment, Boliek’s colleague at AEI, Jeffrey Eisenach, similarly wrote, “Babette embodies a powerful combination of strong free market principles, fact-driven economic analysis, and a sophisticated understanding of the law. As it moves to elevate the role of economic analysis in its decision making, that’s exactly what the FCC needs.”

Childress most-recently served as Pepperdine Law’s Dean of Faculty and is a leading scholar in the field of international law. While in DC, he will serve as the Counselor on International Law in the Office of the Legal Adviser in the U.S. State Department. As the Counselor on International Law, Childress will work on litigation in US courts that raises international and foreign relations law issues and will serve as the liaison between the Legal Adviser’s Office, the Office of the Solicitor General, and the Department of Justice. He will also work on matters before the International Court of Justice and the Iran-US Claims Tribunal.

Dean Caron stated: “Although we will miss Babette and Trey terribly during their time in DC, we are proud that their scholarly work has been recognized with appointments to such important positions. We eagerly await their return to Pepperdine and their future scholarly work which will be enriched by their experiences in these roles.”

These appointments represent an exciting opportunity for Pepperdine. In the short term, it will allow Pepperdine Law to build its presence in Washington, and for the law school to support its DC externship program. But equally as important is the long-term impact of these appointments for the Pepperdine community. Not only does it allow faculty to model Pepperdine’s core commitment to service, but it also ensures that accomplished members of the faculty will be able to bring government experience back to the classroom, benefiting future Pepperdine Law students.