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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

About Parris Institute

The Parris Institute for Professional Excellence is dedicated to the professional development of law students, and provides continual mentoring throughout our students' law school careers. The institute launched in August 2014, and focuses not only on professional development, but also health, personal goals, and ethics.

Through our Awards and Student Life programs, students are incentivized to perform at the highest level, grow as students, and graduate "practice-ready."

Founding Principles

Carol and R. Rex Parris at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law

Carrol and R. Rex Parris gifted the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law $1 million dollars toward the establishment of the Parris Institute for Professional Formation in 2014. The Institute was endowed in 2019. The intention of the institute is to prepare students for a rapidly changing legal environment and to challenge them to emerge as leaders in the professional world.


The purpose of the Parris Institute is to create a culture of excellence which provides the resources and training for our students to find their purpose in the law; serve themselves, their communities, and their clients with excellence; and lead with integrity.

 Service & Purpose

"Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve"

-Marianne Williamson

Serving the oppressed and underprivileged is the hallmark of pursuing justice in the world. As part of its leadership development efforts, the Parris Institute promotes and encourages students to develop their vision and vocational goals for pursuing justice in the practice of law. Pepperdine provides many life-changing opportunities to experience public interest law, clinical opportunities to serve the underserved, and global justice opportunities to engage with the poor in developing nations.

 Key Objectives

  • To facilitate excellence in professional relationships.

  • To draw out of each student the excellence of their character.

  • To encourage each student to invest their heart and mind in shaping the culture of their class and the law school.

  • To equip each student to pursue their convictions for justice marked by an internalized moral identity.

  • To elevate the importance of living a well-balanced life marked by physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

  • To inspire each student to be an exceptional leader marked by the desire to serve others.


Introduction to Professional Formation Course

Introduction to Professional Formation is a groundbreaking program for first year law students that develops professionalism, character, and leadership.

The Parris Awards

At the end of the school year, the Pepperdine Awards Program celebrates the accomplishments of students who best exhibit professionalism. The "Parris Awards" recognize contributions to professional formation in the law school community, and the "Pepperdine Award" is given to the 3L who best embodies the values of our school.

Parris Institute Preceptor Program - Pepperdine Caruso School of Law

Preceptor Program at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law

All of our first-year students are automatically enrolled in this program, which connects students with preceptors - practicing attorney and judge mentors in the local area to guide and shape academic, personal, and professional achievement.