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Alumnus Land Murphy Comes in First Again


Land Murphy stands with his wife Valerie, children
Clay and Quinn, and Justice Scott Brister (left) and
Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson (right) of the Texas
Supreme Court.

Land Murphy, who graduated first in his School of Law Class of 2005, has achieved another first: the highest score on the February 2007 Texas Bar Exam. This accomplishment is the latest in his list of academic career highlights, which include becoming a successful member of Pepperdine's interschool moot court and mock trial teams and landing a judicial clerkship.

Oddly enough, on day two of the three-day exam, the valedictorian worried that he might not have passed. "I found the second full day, consisting solely of Texas law essays, very challenging," said Murphy. "Based on that second day, I was discouraged and a little worried that I might not have passed."

But that feeling proved to be unfounded. Not only did he achieve the highest score, but Murphy was also invited to speak at the Texas State Bar swearing-in ceremony held in Austin, Texas, on May 21. In his speech, Land took an evenhanded approach, cautioning new lawyers against allowing the adversarial role to take over their entire personalities. He challenged them to find a balance between their roles as lawyers and their other important roles in life as parents, spouses, children, and friends.

Murphy seems to have found that equilibrium, spending time with his wife, Valerie, and children Quinn, 6, and Clay, 4, and working as an associate in the litigation department of Baker Botts L.L.P. in Houston, Texas. He attributes his love of the job to strong relationships with his colleagues. "Although it is great to be able to work on interesting cases that involve challenging legal issues, the best thing about Baker Botts is the people," he said. "My colleagues are an extremely friendly and likeable group of people who happen to be some of the best lawyers in the country."

Murphy credits Pepperdine School of Law for preparing him for his legal career. "Many of my classes during law school forced me to reexamine the ways in which I approached and analyzed legal issues, helping hone my analytical skills," he said.

On a deeper level, Murphy appreciated how professors made themselves available to students. "Whether I had questions about a legal issue or wanted to talk about something else entirely, I knew that I could send an email, pick up the phone, or drop by a professor's office," said Murphy. His professors helped him secure a clerkship immediately following graduation, which Murphy said opened other doors in his career.

With the bar exam far behind him, Murphy can now focus on how to be a top notch lawyer. "My career goal is to be an exceptional trial and appellate lawyer and to be in the courtroom as much as possible," he said.