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Student Handbook: School of Law Section


Deans | Administrative Services | Admissions and Records | Alumni and Boards | Career Development Office | Faculty Secretaries | Financial Assistance | Student Accounts | Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution | Clinical Education Offices | Law Library | Information Services | Overseas Programs | The Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and The Law | Herbert & Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics


Deanell Reece Tacha - Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law

The dean has responsibility for advancing the overall mission of the School of Law. Some areas of specific responsibility include representing the School of Law within the University community and to external audiences, enhancing the quality and reputation of the law school, strategic fundraising, overseeing the budget and accreditation matters, recruiting distinguished visiting professors, and securing speakers for special events such as Commencement and the Annual Law School Dinner.

Dean Tacha's Support Staff

  • Executive Assistant - Jennifer Champion
  • Administrative Assistant for Research - Kylie Larkin

Shelley Ross Saxer - Vice Dean and Laure Sudreau-Rippe Chair in Law 

The Vice Dean works closely with the Dean on the overall operation of the School of Law and, among other matters, has primary responsibility for short- and long-term strategic planning.  The Vice Dean also has primary responsibility for academic affairs, including development and oversight of the law school's academic programs.

Dean Saxer's Support Staff

  • Executive Assistant to the Vice Dean - Joanne Blacklidge


Peter Robinson - Associate Dean for Business and Finance

The primary responsibility of the associate dean for business and finance is budget analysis and policy and other related business issues.

Al Sturgeon - Dean of Students

The primary responsibility of the dean of students is to coordinate the departments, programs, and efforts that engage students outside of the formal academic curriculum.  This includes providing oversight in the following areas: admissions, financial aid, student accounts, student records, career development, alumni relations, communications, events, bar exam services, and professional formation.  In addition, as the chief student affairs officer, the dean of students is responsible for managing student assessments, student counseling, student discipline, diversity efforts, and emergency response.

Dean Sturgeon's Support Staff

  • Executive Assistant, Office of the Dean - Margaret Barfield
  • Director of Alumni Relations - Jessie Fahy
  • Director of Communications - Tom Inkel
  • Director of Events - Morgan Thrower


Parris Institute for Professional Formation

Al Sturgeon - Director
Danny DeWalt - Assistant Director

The Parris Institute was established for the purpose of integrating excellence in professional thought, professional skill and professional purpose and virtue. 

Building on the 2007 Carnegie Report naming three conceptual "apprenticeships" in legal education: 1) cognitive reasoning, 2) lawyer skills, and 3) the formation of a moral core, the Parris Institute is committed to elevate the third apprenticeship by emphasizing the importance of integrating the discussion of professional purpose and virtues within the first two apprenticeships.


Fiscal and Administrative Services

Carol Shadrick - Executive Director

The Fiscal and Administrative Services' areas of responsibility include preparation and monitoring of the law school budget, personnel, security, management of purchasing and business services, overseeing the physical plant maintenance, and administrative computer systems management.

Fiscal and Administrative Services Staff
  • Associate Director and Computer Systems Manager - Terry Utter
  • Manager - Connie Lee
  • Utility Clerk - Ventura Delgadillo

Admissions, Student Information and Services

Shannon Phillips - Assistant Dean
Reina Grundhoefer - Associate Director

The Admissions Office provides information for prospective students, counsels applicants involved in the admissions process, reviews applicant files for admission decisions, and participates in the student recruitment process. Law school tours and class visitations for prospective students are also coordinated and administered by the admissions staff. Viewbooks and general information packets can be obtained in this office.

The Student Information and Services Office is responsible for student registration, grades, transcripts, class ranks, requests for loan deferments, bar certification and information, and degree requirement checks for graduating students.

Admissions, Student Information and Services Staff
    • Admissions Coordinator - Lauren Desai
    • Records Coordinator - Cassandra McCook
    • Student Services Coordinator - Nicole Serleto Chavez
    • Tour Program Coordinator -

Alumni and Advancement Office

Stephanie Buckley - Associate Vice Chancellor
Stephen Butler - Director, Law Associates

The Alumni Affairs and Advancement Office promotes, supports, and develops the Pepperdine School of Law Alumni Network.  The Alumni Affairs team hosts events for alumni, communicates regularly to the alumni community in mothly electronic newsletters and quarterly magazines, maintains an online database with alumni contact and professional information, and invites alumni to volunteer with students a the School of Law.  The Advancement team engages with alumni and friends of the school to bring in resources for the support of our School of Law programming, and works with the School of Law Board of Visitors to provide feedback and strategies to further the goals and mission of the school.

The Alumni Affairs and Advancement Office works closely with current students to engage them in annual events held for the entire Pepperdine School of Law community of students, alumni, faculty, and staff including:  The School of Law Dinner, California Bar Hospitality Lunches, California Bar Admissions Ceremony, The William French Smith Lecture Series, and The School of Law Golf Tournament.

  • Administrative Assistant - Chiconia Anderson

Career Development Office

Michael Hom - Assistant Dean

The mission of the Career Development Office (CDO) is to provide every Pepperdine law student and alumnus with the highest level of comprehensive and individualized career services through proactive placement assistance, career counseling, professional development programs, effective marketing to employers, and productive relationships with the entire School of Law community.

Through one-on-one counseling, panel presentations, speaker programs, workshops, job postings and the facilitation of networking efforts between students, alumni, and employers, the CDO assists students and alumni in understanding the legal profession, establishing career and professional goals, and developing effective job search strategies.

Career Development Office Staff

  • Associate Director - Miriam Benor
  • Associate Director - Michelle Feinstein 
  • Associate Director - Smita Reddy
  • Recruiting Coordinator - Molly Kemper
  • Administrative Assistant - Allyson Wood

Faculty Support Services 

  • Director - Candace Warren
  • Assistant Director, Faculty Support Services - Sophia Sipsas
  • Faculty Support Specialist - Hillary Neilson

Financial Assistance

Steven L. Chaparro - Director

The Financial Assistance Office is a professional, two person team dedicated to providing financial aid resources to students. The financial aid staff is here to help students seek, obtain, and make the best use of the financial aid resources available to them. We provide an ethical operation of administering financial aid, and maintain integrity as stewards of the federal financial aid programs. Our guidelines will model the Federal Student Aid Handbook, and staff members are kept abreast of current regulations, policies and procedures.

The Office of Financial Assistance will coordinate the administration of student financial assistance awarded to ensure equity and consistency in the delivery of financial aid funds. We follow the standard formula of federal methodology in awarding campus based aid, and federal student loans.

The Office of Financial Assistance is student-centered, and our goal is to make your financial aid experience a positive one.

Financial Assistance Staff
  • Student Aid Program Manager - Erin Wade

Student Accounts

The Office of Student Accounts is located within the Financial Aid Office at the School of Law. Student Accounts is open from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Questions regarding payment to student's accounts and student refund checks are handled by the Student Accounts Office. If you have questions or concerns please contact Nancy Eisenberg in person, by phone at (310) 506-4981, or email .

Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

Tom Stipanowich - William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution, Academic Director and Professor of Law
Peter Robinson - Managing Director and Professor of Law

The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution is located on the first floor of the Odell McConnell Law Center. The Institute provides theoretical study and practical training in alternative methods of dispute resolution. Specific information on the certificate, master's, or LLM degree programs offered by the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution may be obtained by calling extension 4655.

Straus Institute Staff
  • Shellee Warnes - Associate Director
  • Stephanie Bell - Assistant Director and Assistant Professor of Law
  • Tim Pownall - Assistant Director and Co-Director, The Pacis Project on Faith-Based Diplomacy
  • Sarah Gonzales - Assistant Director
  • Deborah Jasmin - Academic Program Coordinator
  • Tess Marmé - Professional Programs and Administration Coordinator
  • Lori Rushford - Program Administrator for Continuing Education Programs
  • Joanna Reese - Program Administrator
  • Marcelo Rosadilla - Program Administrator for International Students and Programs
  • Jeannie Ruse - Customer Service and Events Coordinator
  • Randi Redman - Student Services Manager
  • Robert A. Uhl - Director, Investor Advocacy Clinic
  • Judith Hale Norris - Associate Director, Investor Advocacy Clinic

Clinical Education Offices

Jeff Baker – Director of Clinical Education and Associate Clinical Professor of Law

Through clinics, externships and practicums, the Pepperdine Clinical Education Program provides students with opportunities to practice law, to work with clients, to learn from expert practitioners, to observe the work of lawyers and courts, to grow as professionals and to seek justice. The School of Law offers four legal clinics in the JD program and three clinics focused on alternative dispute resolution through the Straus Institute.   The clinics include the Legal Aid Clinic at the Union Rescue Mission, the Special Education Advocacy Clinic, the Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic and the Community Justice Clinic; the Straus Institute offers the Investor Advocacy Clinic, the Mediation Clinic and the Fair Employment and Housing Mediation Clinic. In the clinics, students practice law under the supervision of law professors with real clients and high stakes, in a rigorous learning environment where students develop as lawyers and work toward justice for vulnerable clients. In externships, students work in the field for academic credit with expert practitioners and judges in hundreds of field placements throughout Southern California, the nation and the world. Students earn credit for legal work in state and federal courts, governmental agencies, public interest firms and in select in-house corporate and entertainment law offices.   In practicums, students gain intensive experience in specialized field placements with expert faculty guidance; these include the Criminal Justice Dispute Resolution Practicum and the Federal Criminal Practice Practicum. In each of these programs, students learn lessons, virtues and skills that will transfer to every aspect of their future careers.

Law students are eligible for the Clinical Education programs after they have completed their first year of law school. For more information please contact the Clinical Programs Office by calling extension 7449, emailing or visiting

Clinical Education Faculty and Staff

  • Terry Adamson – Director of Externships and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
  • Jeffrey R. Baker – Director of Clinical Education, Director of the Community Justice Clinic and Associate Clinical Professor of Law
  • Stephanie Bell – Assistant Director, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and Assistant Professor of Law
  • Nancy Hunt - Director of the Washington D.C. Externship Experience and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
  • Richard M. Peterson – Director of the Special Education Advocacy Clinic and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
  • Brittany Stringfellow-Otey – Director of the Legal Aid Clinical and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
  • Jeremy Rosen – Director of the Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic and Adjunct Professor of Law
  • Robert Uhl – Director of the Investor Advocacy Clinic and Adjunct Professor of Law
  • Donna Brabec – Clinical Programs Administrator

Law Library


Catherine Kerr - Interim Associate Dean and Assistant Professor of Law

The law library is the indispensable center of the research and learning process of the law school environment. It is the desire of every member of the library staff to encourage and maximize each student's use of the collection. As a research source, the library contains over 400,000 volumes of primary and secondary materials, and multiple access points to LexisNexis, Westlaw, and other electronic resources.

Professional Librarians
  • Don Buffaloe - Senior Research & Student Services Librarian
  • Jessica Drewitz – Assistant Director for Public Services
  • Joy Humphrey – Assistant Director for Collection and Preservation Services
  • Jodi Kruger – Assistant Director for Reference Services
  • Ted Taylor – Senior Cataloger
  • Alyssa Thurston – Research & Electronic Services Librarian
  • Tiffani Willis - Research Services Librarian


  • Denise Sims – Serials Technician

Information Services


Phillip Bohl - Assistant Dean for Information Services

The Information Services Department provides technology services and support to the School of Law community. These services include student computing support. Students will find the Information Services staff happy to help them with connecting to the network, printing issues, computerized exams, email configuration, basic troubleshooting, and other related services.

The Information Services Team
  • David Dickens - Consulting Technologist & Systems Architect
  • Gilbert Marquez - Manager, System Administration
  • Jared Padgett - Manager, Web Development and Digital Media
  • Scott Woeckel - Instructional Systems Support, Senior Audio/Video Specialist

Off-Campus Education

Carol A. Chase - Director of Off-Campus Education and Professor of Law

Pepperdine University School of Law offers opportunities for students to further their legal education through its programs in Washington, D.C. and in London, as well as through exchange programs at foreign universities. 

Washington, D. C. Externship Semester

Nancy W. Hunt - Director and Assistant Professor of Clinical Law
The Washington, D.C. Externship Semester is a spring semester full-time externship program offering our students an opportunity to live in our Nation's capital and gain valuable work experience at externships in the courts, government agencies, lobbying firms and in myriad legal positions at NGOs. In addition to participating in the full-time externships, students take additional coursework at Pepperdine's facility which is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, just a few blocks from the White House. A limited number of graduate student apartments are available at the Pepperdine facility, or students may choose to find their own housing. Students in the Washington, D.C. Program will typically earn 14-16 units of academic credit toward their degree, and with advance permission of the Academic Dean, students may additionally enroll in one elective course at a Washington, D.C. area law school.

London Program

Jim Gash - Director of the London Program Fall 2014 and Professor of Law
The School of Law is currently operating a fall semester program in London during fall 2014, to provide students with the opportunity to study law in an international setting. The curriculum is a mixture of American law courses and international law courses together with international moots and externships. The program is conducted in the university-owned Pepperdine London Centre in South Kensington, which is shared with the undergraduate students. The London Centre contains a library, administrative offices, classrooms, a computer center, and a student lounge. Students enrolled in a ABA accredited law school may attend the London program and may stay for a maximum of two terms. The maximum number of units which may be earned is 29.

Exchange Programs

The Law School currently has student exchange programs with the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, the University of Augsburg in Germany, and Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Argentina.  The 2014-2015 academic year will be the final year for the programs in Argentina and Denmark.  Students participating in these programs are officially enrolled at Pepperdine and pay tuition to Pepperdine, but will take courses at the foreign universities.  Coursework at the University of Copenhagen is in English, as is the summer coursework in Augsburg.  Coursework in Argentina is in Spanish and students studying at Augsburg during the academic year take courses in German.  All coursework credits are transferred as "pass/fail" credits.  Student may learn more about these programs on the law school website at


The Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law

David Feingold - Executive Director
Robert Anderson - Faculty Director
Ahmed Taha - Interim Faculty Co-Director
Candace Warren - Director, Faculty Support


The purpose of the Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law is to equip law students to leverage their law degree in the field of entrepreneurship. Unique in the nation, the Palmer Center achieves this goal through an integrated program focused on three main components: academic course work, industry specific internships, and professional networking and mentoring. Upon completion of this 16-unit, two-year program, graduates earn a Certificate in Law and Entrepreneurship. This certification distinguishes Palmer Center Fellows to potential employers as uniquely educated, experienced, focused, and driven in their chosen field of law. Built on the ideals of innovation, leadership, ethics and social responsibility, the Palmer Center embodies Pepperdine University's commitment to strengthening lives for purpose, service and leadership.

The Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics

Robert E. Cochran, Jr. - Director and Professor of Law
Jim Gash - Director, Global Justice Program
Dana HinojosaProgram Assistant, Global Justice Program

Religious views of law vary greatly, with some people celebrating law, some condemning it, some speaking prophetically to it, and others just wanting law to leave them alone.  Legal views of religion vary greatly as well, with some people welcoming religious views to the public square and others wishing to exclude them.

Recognizing the great value in an exploration of an understanding of law and religion, we seek to draw from a broad range of religious and legal voices on the relationship between law and religion.  While affirming Pepperdine University's Christian identity, the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics (Nootbaar Institute) attempts to draw from the diverse range of religious voices represented by our faculty and student body, seeking dialogue and common ground among faith traditions.

The Nootbaar Institute holds conferences addressing the broad range of issues at the intersection of law, religion, and ethics. These issues include morality and the practice of law, bio-ethical legal issues, constitutional religious issues, clergy sexual abuse, religious lobbying, litigation within religious organizations before ecclesiastical courts, international human rights, tax exempt organizations, politics and the pulpit, government funding for faith-based services, law and poverty, and family law.

The Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies

Ed Larson - Director
Michael Helfand - Associate Director
Drew Billings - Program Coordinator

The Glazer Institute was established based on the understanding that as a Christian University, Pepperdine's students are especially open to discussions of faith and identity, but are often unacquainted with Christianity's historical and ongoing relationship with Judaism. Through work in the classroom, international opportunities, and co-curricular programs, it continues to expand horizons, challenge stereotypes, and open doors to lives of service, understanding, respect, and faith.