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Doris Felman (JD ‘74) Featured in Coral Tree In-Home Care Article

Pepperdine Caruso Law alumna Doris Felman (JD '74) is featured in the Coral Tree In-Home Care article "Doris Felman: The Extraordinary Life of an American Woman. " Felman is an early graduate of the law school when the campus was located in Santa Ana, California.

Excerpts from Doris Felman: The Extraordinary Life of an American Woman

While working full-time as a substitute teacher she attended Pepperdine Law School’s Orange County campus at night. Doris was selected for the staff of the inaugural law review — a requirement for the law school to receive accreditation from the American Bar Association. She edited and published the first edition of the Pepperdine Law School Journal, and also wrote a casenote commenting on the per curiam opinion of US Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist in California vs LaRue 409 U.S. 109 (1972) in Pepp. L. Rev. Issue 1 (1974).

Doris’s casenote was cited in a subsequent written opinion of Justice Rehnquist’s in US Postal Service v. Greenburgh Civic Association 453 U.S. 114 (1981), a confirmation of the scholarly content of the first Pepperdine Law Review.

“There’s nothing mysterious about law,” Doris said. “Like math and physics and chemistry, it’s just a way of thinking. And many people who major in psychology make very good lawyers because it’s a rational way of thinking.”

Doris graduated in 1974 and went to work for the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, founded by local lawyers so that low-income individuals could also receive free legal services. This was important work, Doris said, but also was actually accessible to women. “It was the only job I could get,” she told me. “They wouldn’t hire women then" ...

Doris did everything she could to help her Legal Aid clients, who were mostly poor Latino women. “I had this huge caseload — 600 cases!”

Doris was subsequently hired by Santa Ana’s City Attorney Office; and while working as city attorney got her master’s in tax law, again studying and going to school at night.

One of her biggest cases was the 1994 Orange County bankruptcy, which when it was declared was the first municipal bankruptcy in the country.
She retired in 1997.

“It was time,” she said. Doris was paid less than her male colleagues throughout her law career, but she took great pride in her work.

“My philosophy is that this is a democracy, and it’s such a beautiful democracy that we have — it’s why people from all over the world want to come here — because they don’t have that kind of freedom in other countries. I felt it was a gift to be able to understand how democracy works and how hard you really have to work to make sure that the process works for every freedom that you have. People that know me in the industry, they know how much I did for people.

“Also, the job sounded interesting and challenging, and when you do something that you feel proud of, you have a certain internal satisfaction that doesn’t go with pay. So that would be my advice to anybody, male or female who’s working — find a job you find interesting. And my husband was always the one who encouraged me.”

The complete article may be found at Coral Tree In-Home Care