50 for 50 Spotlight: Nancy Hunt (JD '01)
"I was struck by how our country could benefit from more Pepperdine-educated lawyers working in Washington, and that led me to propose and develop our Washington, DC, Externship Semester. It has been my honor to run it since its inception."
For fifty years, Pepperdine Law has been training people for a variety of careers in the legal profession‚Äìcareer paths that sometimes come full circle. Nothing embodies the spirit of Pepperdine more than when an alumnus returns to serve his/her community as a leader, mentor, and an educational innovator, and for the last decade, Nancy Hunt has given her time and expertise back to her own community.
Professor Hunt graduated cum laude from Pepperdine Law in 2001. She served as editor-in-chief of the Pepperdine Law Review, received the Sorenson Award for the most outstanding student Law Review article submitted, and was awarded membership in the Order of Barristers for her work on Pepperdine's Moot Court, Trial, and Honors Trial Teams. At the beginning of her 2L year, Hunt meet her soon-to-be husband, Brian, on Law Review. Following the Bar, she and Brian moved to DC. Hunt clerked for the Honorable Jonathan Steinberg on the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and subsequently practiced mortgage-banking litigation with the firm Weiner Brodsky Sidman Kider, PC in Washington, DC.¬†Brian would go on to become Pepperdine Law's first Presidential Management Fellow and has since remained in government roles, primarily as an immigration attorney at the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. Hunt recalls, "I clerked and then went into private practice. I was struck by how our country could benefit from more Pepperdine-educated lawyers working in Washington, and that led me to propose and develop our Washington, DC, externship semester. It has been my honor to run it since its inception."
As Pepperdine Law prepares for its tenth spring semester of the DC program (January 2020), Hunt says, "I am so proud of the accomplishments of our students in the externships they have done in our program, across the three branches, in law and lobbying firms, and in nonprofits. I am likewise in awe of how they have built on those experiences and, as alumni, have found happy, fulfilling, and important careers in the law." Approximately a third of Pepperdine DC-program participants remain in Washington, where the alumni community continues to grow, largely on the backs of one other. Hunt says that the DC-area alumni base is "unfailingly generous" in mentoring students and helping them find jobs. Young Pepperdine alumni are eager to help those who come after them, creating a cycle of mentorship that yields great attorneys doing great things in Washington. This network would not be possible without the leadership of Professor Hunt. As Pepperdine Law celebrates its historic anniversary, we asked Professor Hunt how she hopes to be a part of the next chapter of the law school: "In the next 50 years, I am excited to see this trend (of mentorship) continue and grow even more as we multiply our alumni base in Washington and create new paths for our students to become great leaders of our great country." The Washington, DC, Externship Semester offers students the practical experience of working full-time in a legal capacity for the government, non-profits, or other related entities, while completing coursework, networking for post-graduate employment, and experiencing the legal and cultural environment of our nation's vibrant and exciting capital.