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Student Handbook: School of Law Section


Deans | Administrative Services | Admissions and Records | Alumni and Boards | Career Services Center | Faculty Secretaries | Financial Assistance | Student Accounts | Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution | Clinical Education Offices | Law Library | Overseas Programs | The Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and The Law | Herbert & Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics


Deanell Reece Tacha - Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law

The dean has responsibility for advancing the overall mission of the School of Law. Some areas of specific responsibility include representing the School of Law within the University community and to external audiences, enhancing the quality and reputation of the law school, strategic fundraising, overseeing the budget and accreditation matters, recruiting distinguished visiting professors, and securing speakers for special events such as Commencement and the Annual Law School Dinner.

Dean Tacha's Staff

  • Executive Assistant - Jennifer Champion
  • Administrative Assistant for Research - Kylie Larkin

Shelley Ross Saxer - Vice Dean and Professor of Law

The Vice Dean works closely with the Dean on the overall operation of the School of Law and, among other matters, has primary responsibility for short- and long-term strategic planning.  The Vice Dean also has primary responsibility for academic affairs, including development and oversight of the law school's academic programs.

Peter Robinson - Associate Dean for Business and Finance

The primary responsibility of the associate dean for business and finance is budget analysis and policy and other related business issues.

Al Sturgeon - Assistant Dean for Student Life and Director of Academic Success

The primary responsibility of the assistant dean for student life is working to enhance all aspects of student life on campus, including academic, social, and spiritual life. This responsibility involves maintaining close communications with students and providing opportunities for community and relationships. The assistant dean works closely with the admissions and financial aid offices, and with the various student organizations and activities on campus.

Deans' Support Staff
  • Executive Assistant, Office of the Dean - Margaret Barfield
  • Administrative Assistant to Vice Dean - Joanne Blacklidge

Student Life and Student Outreach

Carlton A. Oliver - Director

The Director of Student Life and Student Outreach oversees all student organizations and their functions, assists the Vice Dean with the logistical components of academic scheduling, directs the student mentor program for 1L's, and oversees annual student events including Family Day and Admitted Students' Open House.  Additionally, he will direct wellness initiatives for students and supervise the Spiritual Life Advisor program.  The Director will also be involved in recruiting prospective students (including expanding our recruiting efforts toward students from historically underrepresented groups).  Finally, he will serve as a liaison between students, faculty, and administration and provide special workshops to address the unique needs of law students.


Fiscal and Administrative Services

Carol Shadrick - Executive Director

The Fiscal and Administrative Services' areas of responsibility include preparation and monitoring of the law school budget, personnel, security, management of purchasing and business services, overseeing the physical plant maintenance, and administrative computer systems management.

Fiscal and Administrative Services Staff
  • Associate Director and Computer Systems Manager - Terry Utter
  • Manager - Connie Lee
  • Utility Clerk - Ventura Delgadillo

Admissions, Student Information and Services

Shannon Phillips - Executive Director
Reina Grundhoefer - Associate Director

The Admissions Office provides information for prospective students, counsels applicants involved in the admissions process, reviews applicant files for admission decisions, and participates in the student recruitment process. Law school tours and class visitations for prospective students are also coordinated and administered by the admissions staff. Viewbooks and general information packets can be obtained in this office.

The Student Information and Services Office is responsible for student registration, grades, transcripts, class ranks, requests for loan deferments, bar certification and information, and degree requirement checks for graduating students.

Admissions, Student Information and Services Staff
    • Admissions Coordinator - Lauren Thompson
    • Records Assistant - Kala Grogg
    • Student Services Coordinator - Hillary Reitman
    • Tour Program Coordinator - Ashleigh Martell

Alumni and Advancement Office

Stephanie Buckley - Associate Vice Chancellor
Stephen Butler - Director, Law Associates

The Alumni Affairs and Advancement Office promotes, supports, and develops the Pepperdine School of Law Alumni Network.  The Alumni Affairs team hosts events for alumni, communicates regularly to the alumni community in mothly electronic newsletters and quarterly magazines, maintains an online database with alumni contact and professional information, and invites alumni to volunteer with students a the School of Law.  The Advancement team engages with alumni and friends of the school to bring in resources for the support of our School of Law programming, and works with the School of Law Board of Visitors to provide feedback and strategies to further the goals and mission of the school.

The Alumni Affairs and Advancement Office works closely with current students to engage them in annual events held for the entire Pepperdine School of Law community of students, alumni, faculty, and staff including:  The School of Law Dinner, California Bar Hospitality Lunches, California Bar Admissions Ceremony, The William French Smith Lecture Series, and The School of Law Golf Tournament.

  • Manager Alumni Affairs & Special Events  - Morgan Thrower
  • Managing Editor - 
  • Administrative Assistant - Chiconia Anderson
  • Events Coordinator - Alicia Zamora
  • Database Manager - Tom Inkel

Career Development Office

Selina Farrell - Assistant Dean

The mission of the Career Development Office (CDO) is to provide every Pepperdine law student and alumnus with the highest level of comprehensive and individualized career services through proactive placement assistance, career counseling, professional development programs, effective marketing to employers, and productive relationships with the entire School of Law community.

Through one-on-one counseling, panel presentations, speaker programs, workshops, job postings and the facilitation of networking efforts between students, alumni, and employers, the CDO assists students and alumni in understanding the legal profession, establishing career and professional goals, and developing effective job search strategies.

Career Development Office Staff

  • Associate Director - Miriam Benor
  • Associate Director - Michelle Feinstein 
  • Recruiting Coordinator - Molly Kemper
  • Administrative Assistant - Melody Jaramillo

Faculty Support Services

Director, Faculty Support Services - Candace Warren

  • Assistant Director, Faculty Support Services - Sophia Sipsas
  • Faculty Support Specialist - Hillary Neilson

Financial Assistance

Steven L. Chaparro - Director

The Financial Assistance Office is a professional, two person team dedicated to providing financial aid resources to students. The financial aid staff is here to help students seek, obtain, and make the best use of the financial aid resources available to them. We provide an ethical operation of administering financial aid, and maintain integrity as stewards of the federal financial aid programs. Our guidelines will model the Federal Student Aid Handbook, and staff members are kept abreast of current regulations, policies and procedures.

The Office of Financial Assistance will coordinate the administration of student financial assistance awarded to ensure equity and consistency in the delivery of financial aid funds. We follow the standard formula of federal methodology in awarding campus based aid, and federal student loans.

The Office of Financial Assistance is student-centered, and our goal is to make your financial aid experience a positive one.

Financial Assistance Staff
  • Financial Assistance Coordinator - Erin Herrera

Student Accounts

The Office of Student Accounts is located within the Financial Aid Office at the School of Law. Student Accounts is open from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Questions regarding payment to student's accounts and student refund checks are handled by the Student Accounts Office. If you have questions or concerns please contact Nancy Eisenberg in person, by phone at (310) 506-4981, or email .

Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

Tom Stipanowich - William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution, Academic Director and Professor of Law
Peter Robinson - Managing Director and Professor of Law

The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution is located on the first floor of the Odell McConnell Law Center. The Institute provides theoretical study and practical training in alternative methods of dispute resolution. Specific information on the certificate, master's, or LLM degree programs offered by the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution may be obtained by calling extension 4655.

Straus Institute Staff
  • Shellee Warnes - Associate Director
  • Stephanie Bell - Assistant Director and Assistant Professor of Law
  • Tim Pownall - Assistant Director and Co-Director, The Pacis Project on Faith-Based Diplomacy
  • Sarah Gonzales - Assistant Director
  • Lori Rushford - Program Administrator for Continuing Education Programs
  • Joanna Reese - Program Administrator
  • Marcelo Rosadilla - Program Administrator for International Students and Programs
  • Jeannie Jakstis - Customer Service and Events Coordinator
  • Randi Saxer - Student Services Manager
  • Briana Walker - Faculty and Class Support Manager
  • Robert A. Uhl - Director, Investor Advocacy Clinic
  • Tess Marme - Professional Programs and Administration Coordinator
  • Judith Hale Norris - Associate Director, Investor Advocacy Clinic

Clinical Education Offices

Jeff Baker – Director of Clinical Education

The Clinical Programs Office provides students with opportunities to obtain legal experience as well as credit toward a law degree through voluntary employment as a legal or judicial extern. Opportunities are also available through the Special Education Advocacy Clinic, the Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic, Legal Aid and Family Law Clinics located at the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles, Investor Advocacy Clinic (through Straus), and the Asylum Clinic. Law students are eligible for the Clinical Education programs after they have completed their first year of law school. You may contact the Clinical Programs Office by calling extension 7449, emailing or visiting

Clinical Education Staff

  • Commissioner Terry Adamson (ret.) – Distinguished Jurist in Residence
  • The Honorable Bruce J. Einhorn (ret.) – Director of the Asylum Clinic and Adjunct Professor of Law
  • Richard M. Peterson – Director of the Special Education Advocacy Clinic and Assistant Professor of Law
  • Brittany Stringfellow-Otey – Director of Legal Aid and Family Law Clinics and Assistant Professor of Law
  • Julie Sparks – Supervising Attorney, Asylum ClinicBridge Alvarez – Supervising Attorney, Asylum Clinic
  • Roger Cossack – Distinguished Practitioner in ResidenceHon.
  • Bernard Kamins (ret.) – Adjunct Professor
  • Nicholas LaTerza – Adjunct ProfessorJeremy Rosen – Adjunct Professor, Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic
  • Donna Brabec – Temporary Clinical Program Administrator


Law Library

Herbert E. Cihak - Associate Dean for Library and Information Services and Professor of Law
Catherine Kerr - Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor of Law

The law library is the indispensable center of the research and learning process of the law school environment. It is the desire of every member of the library staff to encourage and maximize each student's use of the collection. As a research source, the library contains over 400,000 volumes of primary and secondary materials, and multiple access points to LexisNexis, Westlaw, and other electronic resources.

Professional Librarians
  • Phillip Bohl - Assistant Dean for Information Services and Associate Director of the Law Library
  • Don Buffaloe - Senior Research and Student Services Librarian
  • Jessica Drewitz - Head of Public Services
  • Joy Humphrey - Head of Collection and Preservation Services
  • Jodi Kruger - Head of Reference Services
  • Ted Taylor - Catalog/Reference Librarian
  • Alyssa Thurston - Research Services Librarian
  • Tiffani Willis - Research Services Librarian


  • Matt Coert - Instructional Systems Support, Graphic Design Specialist
  • David Dickens - Consulting Technologist & Systems Architect
  • Judith Hsu - Library Associate - Cataloging/Microfilms
  • Gilbert Marquez - Instructional Systems Support & System Administration Specialist
  • Jared Padgett - Manager, Web Development and Digital Media
  • Megan Pillar - Public Services Supervisor
  • Denise Sims - Library Associate - Serials
  • Julie Tausend - Manager, Instructional Technology
  • Scott Woeckel - Instructional Systems Support, Senior Audio/Video Specialist

Off-Campus Education

Carol A. Chase - Director of Off-Campus Education and Professor of Law

Pepperdine University School of Law offers opportunities for students to further their legal education through its programs in Washington, D.C. and in London, as well as through exchange programs at foreign universities. 

Washington, D. C. Externship Experience

Nancy W. Hunt - Director and Assistant Professor of Clinical Law
The Washington, D.C. Externship Experience is a spring semester full-time externship program offering our students an opportunity to live in our Nation's capital and gain valuable work experience at externships in the courts, government agencies, lobbying firms and in myriad legal positions at NGOs. In addition to participating in the full-time externships, students take additional coursework at Pepperdine's facility which is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, just a few blocks from the White House. A limited number of graduate student apartments are available at the Pepperdine facility, or students may choose to find their own housing. Students in the Washington, D.C. Program will typically earn 14 units of academic credit toward their degree, and with advance permission of the Academic Dean, students may additionally enroll in one elective course at a Washington, D.C. area law school.

London Program

Colleen Graffy - Director of the London Program Fall 2013 and Associate Professor of Law
The School of Law will operate a program in London during the summer session and is currently operating a fall semester program in London during fall 2013, to provide students with the opportunity to study law in an international setting. The curriculum is a mixture of American law courses and international law courses together with international moots and clinical placements. The program is conducted in the university-owned Pepperdine London Centre in South Kensington, which is shared with the undergraduate students. The London Centre contains a library, administrative offices, classrooms, a computer center, and a student lounge. In the summer, housing is provided for law students. For the fall, students find their own housing, although considerable assistance in locating housing is provided by the London Centre staff. Students enrolled in a ABA accredited law school may attend the London program and may stay for a maximum of two terms. The maximum number of units which may be earned is 29.

Exchange Programs

The Law School currently has student exchange programs with the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, the University of Augsburg in Germany, and Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Argentina.  Students participating in these programs are officially enrolled at Pepperdine and pay tuition to Pepperdine, but will take courses at the foreign universities.  Coursework at the University of Copenhagen is in English, as is the summer coursework in Augsburg.  Coursework in Argentina is in Spanish and students studying at Augsburg during the academic year take courses in German.  All coursework credits are transferred as "pass/fail" credits.  Student may learn more about these programs on the law school website at



The Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law

Vanda Collins - Assistant Director
Samantha Ellis- Administrative Assistant

The purpose of the Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law is to equip law students to leverage their law degree in the field of entrepreneurship. Unique in the nation, the Palmer Center achieves this goal through an integrated program focused on three main components: academic course work, industry specific internships, and professional networking and mentoring. Upon completion of this 16-unit, two-year program, graduates earn a Certificate in Law and Entrepreneurship. This certification distinguishes Palmer Center Fellows to potential employers as uniquely educated, experienced, focused, and driven in their chosen field of law. Built on the ideals of innovation, leadership, ethics and social responsibility, the Palmer Center embodies Pepperdine University's commitment to strengthening lives for purpose, service and leadership.

The Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics

Robert E. Cochran, Jr. - Director and Professor of Law
Jim Gash - Interim Director, Global Justice Program
Dana ZachariaProgram Assistant, Global Justice Program

Religious views of law vary greatly, with some people celebrating law, some condemning it, some speaking prophetically to it, and others just wanting law to leave them alone.  Legal views of religion vary greatly as well, with some people welcoming religious views to the public square and others wishing to exclude them.

Recognizing the great value in an exploration of an understanding of law and religion, we seek to draw from a broad range of religious and legal voices on the relationship between law and religion.  While affirming Pepperdine University's Christian identity, the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics (Nootbaar Institute) attempts to draw from the diverse range of religious voices represented by our faculty and student body, seeking dialogue and common ground among faith traditions.

The Nootbaar Institute holds conferences addressing the broad range of issues at the intersection of law, religion, and ethics. These issues include morality and the practice of law, bio-ethical legal issues, constitutional religious issues, clergy sexual abuse, religious lobbying, litigation within religious organizations before ecclesiastical courts, international human rights, tax exempt organizations, politics and the pulpit, government funding for faith-based services, law and poverty, and family law.

The Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies

Michael Helfand - Associate Director
Drew Billings - Program Coordinator

The Glazer Institute was established based on the understanding that as a Christian University, Pepperdine's students are especially open to discussions of faith and identity, but are often unacquainted with Christianity's historical and ongoing relationship with Judaism. Through work in the classroom, international opportunities, and co-curricular programs, it continues to expand horizons, challenge stereotypes, and open doors to lives of service, understanding, respect, and faith.