Annual Conference | Nootbaar Institute | School of Law | Pepperdine University

Annual Conference

Every year, the Nootbaar Institute hosts a conference on an important and thought provoking topic. Addressing a wide range of issues such as religious freedom, human rights, and diversity, the Institute seeks to bring top scholars, lawyers, students, and the community together to ultimately have a positive impact on society.


Doing Justice Conference

March 11 - 12, 2016
Pepperdine University School of Law
Malibu, California

We hope you will join us for the conference.

Attendees, Download Your Conference Materials Here

Justice is a central theme in most secular and religious moral traditions, though there are significant disagreements about its content. As Alasdair McIntyre has asked, "Whose Justice?" During some periods of history there has been great optimism that the world was moving in a more just direction, generally followed by periods of great injustice and great disillusionment. (We seem now to be experiencing the latter.)

Our conference themes have ancient roots—"do justice" (Micah 6:8) and "do no harm" (Hippocrates). The first theme is a call to do justice and to serve a hurting world. What do our traditions say about justice to the 21st century? What are the great injustices and causes of suffering in our world? How might they be addressed by individuals, religious congregations, NGOs, and governments?

A second theme (raised powerfully in Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert's book "When Helping Hurts"} will be how individuals, groups, and laws might avoid doing harm as we attempt to do good. Attempts to help can generate dependence or harm bystanders. The work of governments and NGOs can undercut local institutions like religious congregations and businesses that might address local problems. Laws can have unintended consequences that do greater harm than good. We need to make a difference, but to do so wisely.

Please join us for the conversation. Panels of academics and people from a wide variety of organizations will address theory and practice--what works and what does not work.

Join us for a tour of the Museum of Tolerance!

Thursday, March 10th, at 2PM

Conference attendees are invited to take part in a private tour of the Museum of Tolerance. This museum "is a human rights laboratory and educational center dedicated to challenging visitors to understand the holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts and confront all forms of prejudice and discrimination in our world today." For more information, and to sign up for the tour, please contact

Need a hotel?

Make sure you get a special Pepperdine rate!

We have three hotel options in the area that will offer you a discounted rate if you mention you are attending Pepperdine's Nootbaar Conference. Pepperdine's Graziadio Executive Center is the hotel located on Pepperdine's campus with great views of the pacific. Malibu Country Inn  is located 10 minutes north of Pepperdine off of PCH, it's near a great beach and great food. Hilton Garden Inn in Calabasas has the best rate to offer, it's about 20 minutes from Pepperdine through Malibu Canyon.


We will run shuttles for the conference between Pepperdine and the three hotels mentioned above. Find the shuttle schedule here.

If you have questions about the substance of the conference, contact Bob Cochran at

For questions about the details of the conference, contact the Nootbaar Institute office by email, or by phone, (310) 506-6978.

The conference is co-sponsored by Pepperdine's Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics and The Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies.

All our best,
Bob Cochran & Michael Helfand

Robert F. Cochran, Jr.
Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law and
Director, Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics
Pepperdine University School of Law
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, California 90263-4611
(310) 506-4684

Michael A. Helfand
Associate Professor, Pepperdine University School of Law
Associate Director, Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
(310) 506-7694

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