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Dean's Message

A headshot of Dean Chalak Richards taken outdoors

Pepperdine Caruso Law: A Place Where you Belong

A message from Chalak, Richards, Assistant Dean for Student Life, Diversity, and Belonging

We live in a world permeated by difference and diversity. There is not one type of flower; nor one flavor of food. No where is that difference, that diversity, more seen than through humanity. Society is made up of people from all backgrounds, ethnicities, nationalities, genders, religions, and viewpoints. Recognizing and honoring those differences - the things that give this world nuance and interest - is necessary, not just for the enjoyment of life, but also for the equal administration of justice.

There are great implications in the legal profession when it does not reflect the variety found in society, and even more when it does not embrace that variety. For too long, the law has been exclusionary. Pepperdine Caruso Law seeks to change that. Our goal is simple: the creation of a community that does more than allow people into a place that was not made for them like a guest, but instead that makes all people know it is their home - a place they belong.

Informed by our faith-based values and belief that God intentionally included diversity in all of creation, we believe that each person's voice, convictions, and experiences enhance our community and that richness enhances how we administer justice and work in the law. We believe that embracing diversity, including people of all backgrounds and identities, and enhancing the voices of our vast student body develops greater opportunities for service, helps our students find their purpose, and creates better leaders.

So how do we do this? How do we create a space that is truly inclusive of all? We will begin by addressing it in our pipeline work, in our administration of legal education, and in the profession and practice. You can learn more about our goals in each of these areas by reading our Strategic Plan for Diversity and Belonging.

Throughout the diversity webpage, you will find initiatives, events, and curricula aimed at enhancing this place of belonging. We are reaching out to communities, holding rigorous conversations, enacting events, and working with the broader legal community to achieve our goals.

Most of all, we see these things as adding to the professionalism and trust in the legal profession. By expanding our communities and making the law a home for all people, we will be only enhancing our abilities to fairly and equally administer justice. We know our students and alumni will represent clients better because of their richer and more nuanced discussions and perspectives on their business dealings and opportunities. They will be able to consider cultural roles and how those will impact their choices and contracts. They will go through litigation more fairly, negotiate more readily, and represent this noble profession more ethically.

There is great work to be done, and I am so proud to be part of Pepperdine Caruso Law as we move forward.

 

Chalak Richards
Assistant Dean
Student Life, Diversity, and Belonging