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About the Institute

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About the Institute 

The Herbert & Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, & Ethics (the “Nootbaar Institute”) draws from a broad range of religious and legal voices on the relationship between law and religion, seeking dialogue and common ground among faith traditions. The Nootbaar Institute serve as a resource for students, an academic institute, and a member of the broader community.  For students, the Institute hosts a range of opportunities for learning, growth, and exploration.  As an academic institute, it brings scholars, lawyers and students together for conferences, workshops and courses.  

In addition, the mission of Pepperdine Caruso Law School is to train lawyers to become servants of others. Pepperdine Caruso Law School aspires to train our students to be servants because we believe a Christian perspective on the practice of law requires such a vocation. The Institute seeks to further advance this mission.  To that end, the Nootbaar seeks to provide students and faculty with the opportunity to explore the intersection of law, religion, and ethics through a range of activities such as on-campus events, workshops, internship opportunities, travel experiences, courses, and clinical offerings.

The Nootbaar Institute’s signature student opportunities include the following:  

  • Several specialty law courses, typically offered as intensive weekend courses, are supported by the Nootbaar Institute.  Last year, these courses included “Christian Perspectives on Law, ” “ Racial Inequality, Law and Democracy: Questions of Faith,” and “Role of Law Practice in the Life of a Person of Faith.” 
  • The Religious Liberty Clinic, launched in 2021, provides students with the opportunity to engage in hands-on appellate legal writing and research on cutting-edge law and religion cases under the supervision of some of the nation’s leading scholars and practitioners in the area. 
  • The Faith and Justice Spring Break Trip to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, launched in 2021, provides students with an opportunity to travel with law school faculty to Montgomery, AL to engage and reflect deeply upon topics related to racial justice, history, and the role of faith in advancing social healing and justice in the U.S. 
  • On-campus events featuring outside speakers, including an annual Martin Luther King, Jr speaker (co-sponsored by the law school’s Office of Student Life, Diversity & Belonging). 
  • Through the Nootbaar Student Stipend program, students may apply for funding to support participation in conferences, professional experiences, or projects that deepen their engagement around faith and law.

The Nootbaar Institute also supports law and religion scholarship through the Nootbaar Fellows program, a cohort of legal scholars from across the country who meet regularly to workshop papers addressing law and religion. 

For more information about the Institute, please email nootbaar.institute@pepperdine.edu.