The 39th Annual School of Law Dinner welcomed more than 600 guests into the ballroom of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Feb. 18, for a unique gathering that saluted The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, chief justice of Canada.
McLachlin received one of Pepperdine's most prestigious awards, the Robert H. Jackson Award, which recognizes individuals that personify outstanding public service when upholding the rule of law.
In a fireside chat with Pepperdine Law School's dean Deanell Reece Tacha, and Pepperdine justice in residence, The Honourable Allen Linden, McLachlin addressed the differences between American and Canadian judicial systems, and the relationship between the two countries as strong allies.
She also spoke to advice she would give to law students, noting her recommendation of "thinking of themselves as a vital service provider." She continued, "We are grounded in the rule of law. That's why we are a stable society."
Additionally, McLachlin stated that students should think of a "lawyer as a critical link between society and justice that helps maintain the rule of law. To be a good judge or good lawyer, you have to be a good person...you can't live in an ivory tower."
The School of Law also recognized Judge Robert H. Henry, former chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, and current president of Oklahoma City University, with the Vincent S. Dalsimer Dean's Award.
Earlier in the day, Chief Justice McLachlin, Judge Henry, and Dean Tacha, presided over the 38th Annual Vincent S. Dalsimer Moot Court Competition's final found. Pepperdine students Karissa Hurst and Amie Vague, on behalf of the petitioner, and Ardy Pirnia and Andrew Quist, on behalf of the respondent, argued a petty theft case involving a homeless military veteran. Dalsimer competition chair, Kelline Linton, authored the case. Winners Hurst and Vague were announced at the dinner.
In critiquing the students' arguments, McLachlin noted that they each "did an amazing job." She and Henry complemented their persuasive skills and overall professionalism. Dean Tacha told the competitors that she took great pride in each of their performances.
Chief Justice McLachlin continued her involvement with the School of the Law in the week that followed as a guest lecturer in three classes. She also participated in an open forum, making herself available to the Pepperdine community as well as the public.
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Click here to see pictures from the event.