All first-year JD students at the Pepperdine University School of Law are automatically enrolled in the Preceptor Program, a program that connects students in groups of two or three to an attorney or judge in the local area. These "preceptors" agree to serve as mentors for the students throughout their first year of law school. The term "preceptor" is a new term to most law students, but it is very familiar to aspiring physicians. A preceptor is simply an expert that provides practical experiences to a student. The idea of learning through practical experiences translates easily to the world of legal education.
The preceptors meet with their mentees two times each semester. Although the form of the meetings may take different forms for different situations, the preceptors are encouraged to (i) take the students to work to witness the preceptor in action; and (ii) either attend a class with the students or meet with the students in a social environment for coffee or lunch. The hope is that such meetings will serve as a springboard for discussions that produce valuable learning experiences that would not have occurred in a traditional classroom.