August 22, 2019 | As Pepperdine Law prepares to ring in its golden anniversary, we also welcome a new class of students that continue to raise the standards for excellence. In his first address to the Class of 2022 at Launch Week, Dean Paul Caron said, “For fifty years, the core of this mission is that the highest priority of Pepperdine Law is you: the personal, academic, and career growth and success of each and every one of you.” He added, “This is an especially exciting time at Pepperdine Law, as we are celebrating our 50th anniversary. In March, we rose to #51 in the U.S. News law school rankings, and we are well positioned to continue our ascent this year.”
This year, we proudly welcome 195 Juris Doctor candidates from twenty-eight states and six countries. In total, over 300 students are beginning the pursuit of a Pepperdine Law degree, including LLM, Masters in Dispute Resolution, online Masters of Legal Studies, and other certificate program candidates.
The Class of 2022 is more diverse than ever. With a 51-49 male to female ratio, the class is thirty percent diverse. Students join us from 107 undergraduate schools and represent 54 different majors. We also welcome eleven student veterans to the class.
“We carefully and prayerfully chose each and every one of you as the Class of 2022 because we are convinced that you will thrive in this place produced by our unique combination of excellence faith and diversity,” said Dean Caron.
This ideological diversity has never been more important than it is today, and for 50 years has been one of Pepperdine Law’s core distinctives, along with our commitment to both a law school grounded in our Christian faith and a law school that is welcoming to students and faculty of all faiths.
For the fifth year in a row, Judge Andre Birotte delivered the keynote address, his signature “feel the fear and do it anyway” message that rouses students find the confidence and faith necessary for their law school journey. “This school will welcome you with open arms,” Judge Birotte said, remarking on the importance of cultivating the relationships and mentorships that will help students achieve the very best as Pepperdine graduates.
In what was a real moment of pride for the School of Law, President Jim Gash returned to offer his first Launch Week speech as Pepperdine University President. President Gash reminded students, “There’s no room in your suitcase for pride, for arrogance, for a feeling of superiority. The only posture that you need to be approaching law school with is humility. The only posture possible is humility.” He also imparted to the class that who you are is much more important than what you are doing as law students and lawyers. “You have chosen us because we’re going to help you become who you were called to be,” he said. “You have an opportunity to help people flourish.”
He concluded with this simple formula of success for law students: Action + conviction = fulfillment
Following a week of courses in professional formation, first-year students combine all that they learn during Launch Week with their own convictions to write an Oath of Professionalism that is unique to the Class of 2022. 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. In their oath, the class pledged to lead a life filled with humility, patience, kindness, and love. Judge Jennifer Dorsey of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada (JD ’97) administered the Oath.
Reflecting on all that she had learned, Maria Luisa Strapasson, an incoming Straus Institute LLM candidate from Brazil, told us, “Launch Week was not only a period of integration and reflection about our goals, but it was also an amazing opportunity to listen advices from people who have been in our places and encourage us to leave our comfort zones in order to build the best version of ourselves.”
Launch Week concluded with a BBQ on Alumni Park under spectacularly sunny skies. We are overjoyed to welcome the Class of 2022 to our Pepperdine family.
As they set out to begin this three year journey, Dean Caron reminded the new class, “A Pepperdine Lawyer is driven by her passion for law and love for others to excel in all phases of his/her life. A Pepperdine lawyer is always prepared to do the very best for her clients. No one – and I mean no one –outworks a Pepperdine lawyer.”