Welcome from the Clinical Education Program
You are facing some immense decisions about your investment in legal education. Deciding whether and where to go to law school will change the trajectory of your work, career, and life. In my opinion, law school is a worthy investment. Law school is demanding and intense, because being a lawyer is important work that is critical to society.
A great law school will give you more than a good graduate education in legal theory and more than mere technical skills. A great law school forms you as a professional who has the knowledge, tools, mind, heart and virtues to have a real effect in the world. Lawyers bear responsibility for their clients' lives, families, property, rights and liberties. Lawyers are public citizens who provide access to justice and render service to communities and clients. Lawyers are operatives of the Rule of Law and are on the front lines of the nation's biggest controversies and of individuals' most intense personal conflicts. Lawyers fight for justice. The stakes are high, so this is the kind of law school Pepperdine aims to be.
In law school, you will learn doctrine in our classrooms and skills in our courtrooms. In our clinical program you will practice law. You will learn how to be a lawyer with clients who depend on you.
At Pepperdine, our clinics are an in-house, pro bono, public interest law firm where students practice law under supervision of expert faculty. In clinics, you will experience the shift from studying and learning for yourself to practicing law for a client. You will move from "thinking like a lawyer" to being a lawyer. You will face the responsibility of a client's future and the weight of justice in your work. You will change the law and you will change lives. You will practice law and learn to be a lawyer. You will serve the oppressed, vulnerable, and the poor who cannot afford a lawyer, and you will start your career by doing some of the best work of your life.
Presently, in the standard JD program, we offer the Legal Aid Clinic at the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles, the Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic, the Community Justice Clinic, the Restoration & Justice Clinic, the Faith and Family Mediation Clinic, and the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. The Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law offers a Startup Law Clinic, and the Straus Institute offers a Mediation Clinic. We are constantly planning new clinics and programs to diversify our practices and to afford greater opportunities to students.
In our externship program, you will earn academic credit for work in the field with lawyers and judges in Southern California, across the nation and throughout the world. The Caruso School of Law facilitates field placements in hundreds of judicial, governmental, military, university, public service, public interest, and corporate in-house law offices. We also offer field placements in select entertainment and corporate counsel offices. Our semester in Washington, D.C. offers students an intense, rigorous and exciting season at work among the best lawyers in and around the nation's capital.
We are increasing experiential learning through practicums that offer intense, specialized work in unique environments. We partner with agencies and organizations to provide intense practice in dynamics areas of practice. In the Veterans Law Practicum courses in Ventura and Los Angeles counties students work with public defenders and public interest lawyers to serve veterans with critical legal needs. Throughout Los Angeles, students work in Immigration, Health Law, and Employment Law practicums to develop professionals and to advance access to justice.
In short, Pepperdine is committed to providing you with experiences, training, and guidance that will prepare you to be a lawyer. We take seriously the job of forming students into professionals who are ready for clients. In addition to incredible new knowledge, you will develop the virtues of a great lawyer: discipline, integrity, creativity, humility, confidence, civility, deliberation, wit, and curiosity.
I hope that you will join us in this good work. Please write or call if you have any questions or want to discuss clinics, externships, practicums, and professional development.
Jeffrey R. Baker
Associate Clinical Professor of Law
Assistant Dean of Clinical Education and Global Programs
Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law