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Meet the Faculty

Robert F. Cochran, Jr., Nootbaar Institute Director

Robert F. Cochran, Jr. - Nootbaar Institute Director

Robert F. Cochran, Jr., Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law, is the founder and director of the Nootbaar Institute. He has written several books on the subjects of law, religion, and ethics, including Cases and Materials on the Legal Profession (West 2002) (with Teresa Collett), Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought (Yale University Press 2001) (with Michael McConnell and Angela Carmella), and Lawyers, Clients, and Moral Responsibility (West 1994) (with Thomas Shaffer).

He teaches torts, as well as courses on the relationship between faith, morality, law, and the legal profession. In 1999, the idea for Pepperdine's Union Rescue Mission Legal Clinic grew out of one of those classes. Professor Cochran is one of the founders of the Law Professors' Christian Fellowship, and served as chair of the Association of American Law School's Professional Responsibility Section in 2002-2003. View full bio

James Allan Gash

Jim Gash - faculty at Pepperdine School of Law


After majoring in finance at Abilene Christian University, Professor Gash continued his education at Pepperdine University School of Law. As a law student, he finished first in his class and served as the editor-in-chief of the Pepperdine Law Review.

Upon graduation, he went to work for the small litigation firm of DeSimone & Tropio. The following year, he had the privilege of serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Edith H. Jones, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He then joined the Washington, D.C., office of Kirkland & Ellis where he focused on appellate and commercial litigation. He relocated to Kirkland's Los Angeles office in 1997, where he worked until joining the faculty in 1999. From 2005 through 2012, Professor Gash served as Associate Dean for Student Life, and since January of 2012, he has served as Specialist Advisor to the Ugandan High Court. View full bio

Michael Helfand

Michael Helfand - Nootbaar Faculty at Pepperdine Law


Professor Helfand joined the Pepperdine Law faculty in 2010 where he has taught Contracts, Arbitration Law, and seminars in Law and Religion as well as Multiculturalism and the Law.

Professor Helfand's primary research interests are law and religion, arbitration, contracts, civil rights and constitutional law, focusing on the intersection of private law and religion in contexts such as religious arbitration, religious contracts and religious torts. Professor Helfand's articles have appeared in a variety of journals, including the New York University Law Review, Duke Law Journal (forthcoming), Minnesota Law Review, Boston University Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, and Journal of Law & Religion. View full bio

Douglas W. Kmiec

Douglas W. Kmiec - Nootbaar Institute Faculty, Pepperdine Law

An American legal scholar, diplomat, and author, former Ambassador Douglas W. Kmiec holds the Caruso Family Chair. He has focused the chair toward constitutional and human rights law. The Ambassador's work has won much acclaim, including prestigious fellowship and honorary degree. Ambassador Kmiec is a popular speaker at commencements and other university wide conclaves.

Ambassador Kmiec came to this position after serving several years as dean and St. Thomas More Professor of Law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and for nearly two decades, on the law faculty at the University of Notre Dame. As dean at Catholic University, Ambassador Kmiec did what many said would be impossible; he greatly increased academic quality and student selectivity at the same time he deepened the school's religious commitment. During his tenure, the law school moved into the top one hundred law schools in the U.S. News ranking from tier three. At Notre Dame, he was director of Notre Dame's Center on Law & Government, and the founder of its Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy. Beyond the university setting, Kmiec served Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush during 1985-89 as constitutional legal counsel (Assistant and Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice). He was nominated for foreign service by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. View full bio

Shelley Ross Saxer

Shelley Ross Saxer - Nootbaar Institute Faculty, Pepperdine Law

While in law school, Dean Saxer served as the chief managing editor of the UCLA Law Review. Upon graduation, she clerked for the Honorable Wm. Matthew Byrne, Jr. of the Federal District Court for the Central District of California and then worked briefly as a corporate associate for the Century City law offices of O'Melveny & Myers.

She has published articles dealing with liquor store overconcentration in urban areas, the use of religious institutions for homeless shelters, conflict between local governmental units over commercial land use decisions that impact surrounding communities, eminent domain, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, sex offender property disclosures and residency restrictions, water law, and zoning conflicts with First Amendment rights. Dean Saxer is a co-author of Contemporary Property, American Casebook Series, Thomson West (4th ed. with Grant S. Nelson, Dale A. Whitman, and Colleen Medill). She is also working on a book with Craig "Tony" Arnold, titled Environmental Sustainability & Resiliency Law & Policy to be published by Wolters Kluwer. View full bio

Mark S. Scarberry

Mark S. Scarberry - Nootbaar Institute Faculty, Pepperdine Law

Professor Scarberry decided during his first year at UCLA Law School that he wanted to teach law. He graduated first in his class and then joined the Pepperdine law faculty in 1982 after four years' practice experience with Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, Los Angeles. His major academic interests are bankruptcy (particularly Chapter 11 business reorganization), remedies, legal philosophy, election law, and constitutional law (particularly freedom of religion). Except when it is time to grade exams, he is amazed that law teachers actually are paid to teach (rather than having to pay for the privilege). View full bio