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Pepperdine Caruso Law Graduates Celebrated at California Bar Swearing-In Ceremony

Almost 300 people joined Pepperdine Caruso Law's most recent California Bar Exam passers from the Class of 2020, their family and friends, students, faculty, staff, and alumni for the second-ever online swearing in ceremony the evening of Thursday, January 21, 2021. It was an unprecedented evening of joy, tears, laughter, and milestones for an unprecedented class.

Dean Paul Caron said, "We are so, so proud of you graduates who passed the notoriously difficult California Bar Exam in the most difficult circumstances in our lifetimes – you did not let a pandemic and continued uncertainty about the date, format, and content of the bar exam stop you from doing the work necessary to become members of the bar tonight."

President Jim Gash (JD '93) joined the group for a short message of congratulations on behalf of the University. President Gash remarked that he remembered reading the applications of the class many years ago, and was so glad they had been chosen to attend Pepperdine Caruso Law.

Presiding over the ceremony were the Honorable Jennifer Dorsey (JD '97) of the District of Nevada, and the Honorable Andre Birotte, Jr. (JD '91) of the Central District of California. Both Judge Dorsey and Judge Birotte spoke to the Class of 2020 during their orientation week three years prior, so it was fitting they also presided over their swearing in ceremony.

Judge Dorsey first delivered the federal oath. Before taking the bench in 2013, Dorsey was a partner in a civil litigation firm which she joined immediately after graduating from Pepperdine Law School. Although she litigated a wide variety of cases, she particularly enjoyed her appellate practice, where she briefed and argued matters in the Nevada Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. Judge Dorsey is also a Co-Chair of Pepperdine Caruso Law School's Board of Advisors and was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2016. Judge Dorsey teaches judicial writing for law clerks and externs as an adjunct professor at UNLV's Boyd School of Law.

Judge Birotte then delivered the state oath. He said, "When I see Dean [Emeritus Ronald] Phillips [who was present for the ceremony], he represents the DNA of this school: hard work, excellence, and service." Throughout his career, Birotte served as a Deputy Public Defender for Los Angeles County, a partner at Quinn Emanuel, the Inspector General for the Los Angeles Police Commission, and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California before being appointed as United States District Judge for the Central District of California in 2014. Judge Birotte is a member of the law school Board of Advisors and has come back many times since his appointment to preside over our swearing-in ceremonies.

Throughout the ceremony, the chat box was teeming with comments from well wishers congratulating their students, spouses, children, and grandchildren. After the oaths were delivered, a cacophony of voices in different languages rang out with praise, and faces holding everything from balloons, to children, pets, and even glasses of champagne lit up the Zoom screen.

If you were unable to attend, we hope you will enjoy this special video of the night's festivities. Congratulations to the Class of 2020. The Pepperdine Caruso Law community is excited to see all the places you will go!

A video montage of the ceremony may be found here.