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Pepperdine Caruso Law Mourns the Loss of Alumna Lisa Russell (JD ‘20)

Lisa Russell, a 2020 graduate of the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, passed away on November 21, 2022, after a long battle with recurrent breast cancer. She was 39 years old.

"Our community is deeply saddened by Lisa's passing," said Dean Paul Caron. "She was a beloved member of the class of 2020, who kept God's promise in her heart even through her devastating diagnosis and treatments. We will never forget having her among us at our Baccalaureate Service and Commencement in May."

While at Caruso Law, Russell was Associate Editor of Pepperdine Law Review. She also served as a Certified Law Clerk intern for the Los Angeles County District Attorney Prison Crimes Unit. Lisa participated in a number of global programs including an internship at the Indonesian Christian Legal Society in Jakarta, Indonesia, the London semester abroad, and the Sudreau Global Justice Institute Spring Break program in Uganda where she provided legal aid to prisoners.

Lisa Russell holds her son, Constantine

Lisa Russell stands on the equator in Uganda

Russell was a post-bar law clerk with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. After her diagnosis, she continued to work full-time as her treatment allowed, and she was sworn into the California Bar in the spring.
Upon learning of Russell's diagnosis and difficulty in getting insurance support for her treatments, the Caruso Law community became involved. Chair of the Board of Advisors Mark Hiepler (JD '88) of Hiepler & Hiepler provided representation on a volunteer basis which helped her obtain insurance coverage. Alumni, faculty, staff, and students contributed to a GoFundMe effort that collected over $100,000 to help her with expenses.

She is survived by her father, Alan, her mother, Lolita, her partner, Christian Zelaya, and her son, Constantine. Lisa is also survived by her older brother, Marc Russell, his wife, Lisa, and her older sister, Christy Broome. She also left a lasting impact on her nephews, nieces, and cousins.

Per her wishes, Lisa will be cremated, and her family is planning a memorial service at St. John the Baptist De La Salle in Granada Hills, which will take place in early 2022. Further information will be provided.

A GoFundMe campaign will attempt to raise additional funds for the care and education of Lisa's son, Constantine, who will be two years old at the end of February 2022. The link for the GoFundMe is https://gofund.me/a90556cf.

Lisa was a wonderful mother, daughter, sister, partner, lawyer, and friend. She will be greatly missed. We offer our heartfelt condolences to Lisa's family and friends.

Lisa Russell with her family and Dean Caron at graduation