September 10, 2018 | Pepperdine Law is primed to join the ranks of the nation’s elite law schools, and this August, we welcomed the incoming Class of 2021 who continue to set the standard higher than ever before. Selected from more than 3,000 applicants (a 44% increase over last year), this new class is made up of 160 JD students representing 26 states and 4 countries. A snapshot of the class reveals that 38% of students are from out-of-state; student ages range from 19 to 60, with the average student age being 24; 28% are students of color; and 53% of students are female. Five students are members of the United States Armed Forces and have served multiple deployments.
Assistant Dean of Admissions, Student Information, & Financial Services, Shannon Phillips, describes the new class as “exceptional.” “Not only did their predictors increase in eight of nine measurable categories,” Phillips says, “they are equally talented and diverse in their backgrounds and experiences.”
The Class of 2021 boasts a strong academic background with a median LSAT score of 160, and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.63. Members of the incoming class represent 98 undergraduate schools, and seven students are graduates of Pepperdine University. JD students earned their undergraduate degrees in 47 different majors, including Agriculture, Chemistry, Film Production, Journalism, Literature, Spanish, and Political Science. In addition, these students demonstrate a history of leadership as Eagle Scouts, NCAA athletes, university ambassadors, residential life directors, club chairs, and fraternity and sorority presidents. Several students have had success beyond the classroom through well-established careers as entrepreneurs, writers, and political activists. They have worked at Fox Sports Southwest, Ledger Law Firm, California Superior Court, Gangi Builders Inc., Honolulu City Council, Malibu Gathering Church, Wetherly Fashion Group, and Los Angeles County Lifeguards. One student interned for Senator John McCain, while another worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign. A number of students have also begun to distinguish themselves in the legal field as paralegals, research aids, and judicial externs.
Pepperdine is a Christian university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. The Class of 2021 begins law school indicating a commitment to this mission through their demonstration of public service. They have addressed the nation and world’s most pressing issues from access to education to human trafficking as volunteers with AmeriCorps, Agape International Missions, Boys and Girls Club of America, and Teach for America.
The new students bring a number of unique characteristics to the greater Pepperdine Law community. They speak Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, French, German, Hebrew, Igbo, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. They are pastors, coaches, and athletes. They are wives, husbands, mothers, and fathers.
In addition to the JD class, the Straus Institute welcomed a diverse group of LLM, MDR, and Certificate students into its top-ranked dispute resolution program. Our students—hailing from Brazil, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Armenia, South Africa, and the United States—are accomplished lawyers and professionals who share a passion for promoting peace and resolving conflicts across the world. Many students have chosen to enhance their education at Straus with joint degrees in law, public policy and business—all of which are options offered by our Institute, in coordination with Pepperdine’s Law, Public Policy and Business schools. Straus also welcomed a large class of Seaver College undergraduate students who plan to complete a Certificate in Conflict Management.
Following a week of courses in professional formation, first-year students combined all that they had learned during Launch Week with their own convictions, passions, desire for justice, integrity, and service, to write the Oath of Professionalism for the Class of 2021. The Oath serves as a promise to uphold the Pepperdine University School of Law Honor Code, as well as a commitment to the highest standards of the profession, including honesty, integrity, civility, humility, justice, and service. Judge Jennifer Dorsey of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada (JD ’97) administered the Oath.
“Our students are at the heart of everything we do at Pepperdine Law, and our faculty is the lifeblood,” Dean Caron said, reminding students why there is no other place that can match Pepperdine’s distinctive community. “We combine excellence and faith in a way that no other law school does. There is no doubt that Pepperdine Law is on the rise once again.”