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Mark Bratt (JD '06) and Erin Coleman (JD '11) Named as Otto Cipolla Preceptors of the Year 2019-2020

Each year, the Pepperdine Caruso Law Parris Institute for Professional Excellence surveys the 1L students so they can submit a nomination for their preceptor to win the Otto Cipolla Preceptor of the Year Award. This year, alumna Erin Coleman (JD '11) and alumnus Mark Bratt (JD '06) took home the honor. We are so proud of their commitment to Pepperdine Caruso Law students. These exemplary alumni embody the Pepperdine mission of purpose, service, and leadership.

Erin's nomination read:

I really enjoyed sitting down with Erin talking about life plans. Erin was telling me how she had everything all planned out when she was in law school and was adamant about the type of career path she was going to take, but how things changed for her. Admittedly, I came to law school very one-track minded, absolutely certain about what I was going to do (similar to Erin). However, Erin encouraged me to pursue what I am passionate about, while not closing myself off to different opportunities. Because of her advice, I've started to look at different fields within the legal community, which has provided me with valuable opportunities to expand my network. I would not have reached out and networked with all of these people who were outside of my "intended field," had it not been for her advice. I feel like I have a better understanding of the legal profession now because I've been exposed to different parts of it that I had previously closed myself off to.

Another thing I love about Erin was her compassion. While we were talking, I started getting emotional and tearing up because it was one of the first times I reflected on how incredible it is for me to be at law school. I say this because just one generation ago, my family fled Cuba as political refugees, some my family members were imprisoned in Cuba without representation for opposing the Communist Revolution, and here I am, starting law school in Malibu, California. I never really cry and started to get embarrassed crying in front of Erin, but she assured me that it was okay to feel that overwhelming gratitude. We spoke about our backgrounds and how it was incredible that we're both here, her as an attorney, and me as a law student, making moves in the legal profession. Erin has so much grace, compassion, and is so understanding. This was a perfect match. I am thankful that she is my preceptor.

Mark's nomination read:

Being assigned a lawyer who was awarded numerous awards including Top 40 Under 40 attorneys, Top 100 trial lawyers in the country, and 2018's Trial Lawyer of the year, I must admit that I was more nervous than excited. Would he be cool or another hot shot attorney who has no time for a 1L bothering him about trivial school problems? Luckily, I couldn't have been more wrong. Mr. Bratt took it upon himself to provide exceptional support, and I wholeheartedly believe he deserves the Preceptor of the Year Award. Space is limited so I compiled a short list enumerating why I believe so. Mark Bratt...
• Invited me to his office to sit in and experience a deposition.
• Invited me to go to court and observe him make oral arguments.
• Offered me a summer internship!!! While many of my classmates are stressed and anxious searching for a job, I can focus on my classes knowing I'm set for the summer with a job conveniently located in LA.
• Encourages me to take care of my emotional and mental health by maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle and not getting consumed by grades or class rank.
• Shows by example that being a lawyer is not only about money or prestige, but an opportunity and privilege to help the less fortunate. With this perspective, my work will be a more fulfilling part of my life while still supporting my financial goals.
• Regularly reaches out to schedule meetings over lunch which assures me I can rely on him for support and advice. Sometimes it can be difficult or even frightening to be the first to reach out-I did not have to worry about this.
• Goes out of his way to accommodate my dietary restrictions by going to kosher restaurants even though it means traveling further from his office. He always picks up the bill and refuses to let me pay.
• Inspires me to work hard, but smart. Going through the system has taught him what works and what he could have done differently, and he has passed that knowledge over to me. Going into the semester and finals with his guidance and advice has given me a substantial advantage.
• Lastly, he is a cool person to talk to and hang out with. Because he is so successful in his career, I didn't expect him to be so down to earth and humble. He is becoming a great friend and mentor to me.

For the reasons stated above, I believe that Mr. Bratt is exceptionally qualified. Mr. Bratt has been a tremendous support to my success in school and I hope he continues in this capacity to further mentor first-year law students. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the school and in particular Dean Richards for giving students this wonderful opportunity to have a preceptor who can guide us through this new and exhilarating experience of 1L.

Alumni, we would love to have you join the Parris Preceptor Program for the upcoming academic year. The link to join is here