Pepperdine Law Professors Make Waves in Washington, D.C.

June 26, 2019 | Last year, two Professors of Law at Pepperdine were tapped to hold influential positions in the United States government, a testament to our faculty’s commitment to scholarship and service. Babette E. Boliek was appointed by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to serve as its 2018-19 Chief Economist. Donald “Trey” Childress began serving as the Counselor on International Law in the Office of the Legal Adviser in the U.S. State Department.

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. Her research at Pepperdine focuses on applied economic and legal analysis in the areas of Internet regulation, competition and antitrust, privacy, and the mobile telecommunications industry. Her teaching responsibilities have included antitrust law and policy, communications law, corporations, and contract law. In addition to her scholarly research at Pepperdine, Professor Boliek is a Visiting Scholar for the American Enterprise Institute and blogs regularly for on a variety of technology and telecommunications related issues.

“Professor Boliek has been a tremendous addition to our team,” said Chairman Ajit Pai in his commencement address at Pepperdine Law in June.  “Now that I’m seeing what she’s given up to be at the FCC, I am even more grateful for her service.”

During her tenure as Chief Economist, Boliek has advised the Chairman, Commissioners, and Bureaus and Offices on economic issues, including a recent vote to allow wireless telecommunications companies to block unwanted robocalls. She is an active mentor and faculty advisor of Pepperdine Law’s Washington, D.C. externship program, which is in its 10th year. Boliek will return to Pepperdine Law for the 2019-20 academic year.

In his role, Childress works on litigation in U.S. courts that raises international and foreign relations law issues. He also acts as a liaison between the Legal Adviser’s Office, the Office of the Solicitor General, and the Department of Justice. Over the past year, Childress has presented oral arguments before the International Court of Justice in The Hague on behalf of the United States.

At Pepperdine, Professor Childress’s primary research interests are international civil litigation and arbitration, private international law, comparative law, and ethics. He teaches Civil Procedure, International Litigation, Comparative Law, Conflict of Laws, and Ethical Lawyering. Over the past year, Childress has presented oral arguments before the International Court of Justice in The Hague on behalf of the United States.

Having gained valuable insight as to what the practice of law is like at the highest levels of government, Childress looks forward to bringing his experience back to Pepperdine Law to share with his students and to inform his scholarship. The school had a big influence on his work in Washington so far. “Pepperdine’s commitment to doing what is right has constantly informed my service,” he said. “I always ask myself what is the right outcome as well as what is the legal outcome? Pepperdine’s commitment to ethics informs that analysis.”