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A New Wave: Pepperdine Caruso Law Welcomes the Class of 2024

On August 9, 2021, after 886 days of physical separation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pepperdine Caruso Law community was delighted to welcome the Class of 2024 for Launch Week, a week-long introduction to law school and professional formation. This semester, more than 400 students will pursue their juris doctor, LLM, MDR, professional certificates, or master's degrees in legal studies from Caruso Law and the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. A much higher than expected yield rate produced a class of over 200 first-year students with the the highest median LSAT scores (164) and undergraduate GPAs (3.80) in Caruso Law's history, as well as an increased number of students of color and first-generation students for the fourth year in a row. Dean of Admissions Shannon Phillips describes the new class as exceptional. "The class of 2024 is the highest credentialed entering class the school has ever enrolled," Phillips says, "and they are equally talented and diverse in their backgrounds and experiences."

The Class of 2024 group photo in front of the Caruso School of Law

In his welcoming remarks, Dean Paul Caron expressed, "I am thrilled that you have decided to join our very special law school community. Beginning today you will experience the faculty and staff's faith-fueled commitment to you and to your success that manifests itself in various ways, large and small, in daily life at Pepperdine Caruso Law." Caron added, "My fervent wish is that you will love your time here as I have since joining the faculty in 2013, and that you will leave here with a deep sense of your professional and personal calling in law and in life."

Two female student mentors smiling

A male student at the Student Organization fair outside

The Honorable Andre Birotte (JD '91) then delivered his always unforgettable speech, "Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway," in which he imparts his most valuable wisdom for overcoming and embracing the challenges of law school.

Judge Andre Birotte addresses students during Launch Week 2021

On Wednesday, Caruso Law alumni Mark Hiepler (JD '88), Jessica Newman (JD '97), Lavinia Osilesi (JD '19), and Loren Zitomersky (JD '09) joined the students for a panel discussion and imparted some of their most valuable lessons from law school and beyond. Students were able to ask the panelists questions about their individual journeys as law students as well as career advice for their future practices. The faculty then convened to introduce themselves to the students in their respective sections.

Five alumni sit on a panel

On Thursday, first-year students combined all that they had learned during Launch Week with their own convictions, passions, desire for justice, integrity, and service, to write the Oath of Professionalism for the Class of 2024. The Oath serves as a promise to uphold the Pepperdine University School of Law Honor Code, as well as a commitment to the highest standards of the profession, including honesty, integrity, civility, humility, justice, and service. Judge Jennifer Dorsey (JD '97) of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada administered the Oath.

Launch Week in the Caruso Law atrium

Two female students talking with masks around their chin

Launch Week concluded with the annual BBQ under warm sunny skies. We are overjoyed to welcome the Class of 2024 to the Caruso Law community.

Dean CAron and Professor Singh with students at the Launch Week BBQ

Four male Straus students smile at the BBQ

Professor Rick Cupp and his dog sitting at a BBQ

Three female students sit on a blue blanket at the BBQ