The dean's suite at the School of Law welcomed Steve Schultz in January for a stint as interim assistant dean for student life. He is filling in for Jim Gash, who is currently on sabbatical in Uganda.
Prior to joining the Pepperdine School of Law community in 2003 as assistant director of career development, Schultz practiced labor and employment law for more than 10 years with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles. The University of California, Los Angeles graduate then joined MiniMed Inc., a publicly traded biomedical device company, specializing in the treatment of individuals with diabetes. There, Schultz served as senior vice president of human resources and assistant general counsel.
"It was a feel good time for me," he said. "We were working for a cause. To help people with diabetes. What we did meant something. The company grew from 1,400 employees to 2,000 while I was there. And I knew all 2,000. It was a great place to be."
In time, however, MiniMed was sold. Schultz said he couldn't see being part of the changes, which were to include more than 20,000 additional employees. He had always yearned for a position in teaching.
Three years into his work with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Schultz quit to pursue a single subject teaching credential with the hopes of joining the Los Angeles Unified School District.
"I really didn't have practicing law out of my system, though," he said, noting his decision to return to the law firm, and his eventual position with MiniMed.
Upon the sale of MiniMed, Schultz learned of an opportunity in the career development office with Pepperdine Law.
"I was ready to get into education," he said.
He held the role of assistant director for two years before he began teaching first-year Legal Research and Writing. In 2010, Schultz's teaching led him to upper division courses, including California Civil Procedure, a course he continues to teach.
Last fall, Schultz was offered the position of interim associate dean of student life as the School of Law prepared for Gash's absence. Now more than halfway through his time in the dean's suite, Schultz says he has gained a greater appreciation for the role.
"I've been given the chance to really learn how the Law School ticks," he said. "It's motivated me even more to work hard at what I do."
Schultz continued, "I have so much respect for my colleagues. I am able to collaborate with the deans - with the admissions office - in a way I never have before, and it's been a great experience."
He says he is looking forward to using his new skills in the classroom.
"What impacts me the most is feedback from my students," he said. "I am always working to be a better teacher."