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Welcome from the Pepperdine Law Faculty


Professor Naomi Goodno

Your acceptance at Pepperdine is clear evidence that you have worked incredibly hard, and you should take a moment to be proud of yourself! Now, you have the wonderful but challenging decision of where to study the law. There are good reasons why Pepperdine is the place.

I have been a law professor at Pepperdine for more than a decade, and I have experienced first-hand that this is a vibrant, exciting and unique place. Like the other law schools you may be considering, Pepperdine offers a top-notch legal education experience, but there are traits that make it truly special.

Academic Rigor with Eminent Scholars, Teachers and Practitioners

Pepperdine Law faculty are former judges, civil and criminal trial lawyers, general counselors, Pulitzer Prize recipients, and former law clerks for all levels of courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. They are scholars in areas of human rights, environmental law, constitutional law, criminal law, corporate law and entrepreneurship, entertainment law, intellectual property, sports law, election law, oral and appellate advocacy, and arbitration and mediation. Over just the last decade the faculty has collectively written more than 300 articles and numerous books. They have active blogs and have written editorials for mainstream news organizations, they have testified before Congress, and they have trained lawyers and judges throughout the world. They will leverage their experiences to rigorously train you, the next generation of lawyers. But the other law schools you may be considering likely have dynamic faculty as well, so why Pepperdine?

  • What makes Pepperdine special: Professors who know you by name. I studied law at both Harvard and U.C. Berkeley, superb institutions where research is the priority. But at Pepperdine, you are the priority. Pepperdine faculty will make a great effort to get to know you as a student and as a person. Your professors, like me, will invite you to their home for family meals. Your professors, like me, will provide their cell phone on the class syllabus. Pepperdine faculty have an open-door policy – meaning when we are in our offices, our doors are open to you. We want to help you succeed in law school, in your career, and in your life. It is no surprise The Princeton Review consistently ranks Pepperdine professors as one of the most accessible faculty in the country.

Opportunities for Real-Life Experiences to Help Build Your Career

Pepperdine offers numerous ways to get practical legal experience. Our clinical programs let you serve the neediest populations, the homeless, the abused, and veterans. You can explore entrepreneurial ideas through the Palmer Center. You can argue real cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit or study in Pepperdine's Washington, D.C., Externship Program. You can intern for federal judges, district attorneys and public defenders, movie studios and sports teams, non-profits, Fortune 500 companies and start-ups, or travel to Uganda to work for the country's highest court through Pepperdine's renowned Global Justice Program. Some of these opportunities are unique to Pepperdine – such as studying at the Straus Institute, which has been ranked the number one Dispute Resolution Program in the country by U.S. News & World Report for twelve of the last thirteen years. The other schools you are considering likely have career-building opportunities too, so why Pepperdine?

  • What makes Pepperdine special: Mentoring and support at every step. Through the Parris Institute for Professional Formation, Pepperdine matches every new student with an alumnus who is there to give advice and help students explore numerous career opportunities. New students are also assigned student and faculty mentors to help them navigate the daunting first year of law school. In the fall, students run a school-wide auction to help raise money to fund other students who wish to work for non-profits. From the alumni, faculty, fellow students and staff, you will get meaningful and practical support to help you achieve your goals.

Vibrant Student Life

Beyond academic excellence and career-building opportunities, Pepperdine has a robust student life. You can join groups that focus on legal interests, such as Health Care Law or International Justice. You can join advocacy groups and compete in mock trials in New York or moot court in China. You can write for the law review and run symposiums with speakers like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy. You can join religious groups and interfaith councils to strengthen your spiritual walk and participate in the law and religion conference that our Nootbar Institute hosts every spring. You can join identity-based groups and participate with all students in Global Village Day, which celebrates national, regional, and ethnic cultures through food, music, and fashion. You can participate in school events such as beach days, the Law School dinner, or the annual dodgeball competition. Sounds exciting, but how does this make Pepperdine unique?

  • What makes Pepperdine special: Community and meaningful relationships. Pepperdine students genuinely care for and support one another. One drove out of her way daily to pick-up and drop-off a fellow student who had broken her leg in a sky-diving accident. Another gave all of his class notes to a fellow student whose computer crashed days before the final exam. Whether you just graduated from college or are starting a second career, whether you are a single parent or from another part of the world, Pepperdine's student body is among the most supportive group you could seek.

You are at an exciting crossroads in your life. You have to choose from many amazing opportunities and that can feel stressful. Come visit us to see why Pepperdine is special and is much more than just a beautiful campus located in Malibu, California, atop a mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean, though this is unique too. If you can't visit, or if you have any questions, please reach out to me at naomi.goodno@pepperdine.edu or (310) 506-4623.

Thank you for considering Pepperdine. I hope to see you in class.


Naomi Goodno
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Associate Professor of Law

Pepperdine University School of Law
+1 (310) 506-4623