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Pepperdine Law Review Hosts 50th Anniversary Symposium on the Future of the Federal Judiciary

On Friday, March 24th, Pepperdine Law Review hosted its 50th Anniversary Symposium, titled "All Rise: The Future of the Federal Judiciary." In partnership with the William French Smith Lecture Series, the all-day event featured all four of Pepperdine Caruso Law alumni who are currently federal judges, four U.S. Court of Appeals Judges, and keynote-level scholars such as Erwin Chemerinsky, Judith Resnik, James Pfander, Laurie Levenson, Lynn Baker, and Lee Epstein. 

The morning began with opening remarks from Caruso Law professor and symposium host Ahmed Taha, and Pepperdine Law Review Volume L symposium editor Jake Porath, who each introduced the symposium's topic and broader significance on the future of the U.S. legal system.  Opening remarks continued with Caruso Law dean Paul Caron, who outlined the law school’s significant contributions to the federal judiciary. Dean Caron also paid tribute to the late Pepperdine Law dean and District of Columbia Circuit Judge Ken Starr, and the late Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell who was Caruso Law's first alumna to assume the federal bench.

The symposium included four substantive panels throughout the day, each focusing on different topics affecting the future of the federal judiciary.  Caruso Law professor Robert Pushaw began by moderating a panel of three of the foremost federal courts scholars in the country, including Northwestern Pritzker School of Law professor James Pfander, Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson, and University of Texas at Austin Law professor Lynn Baker.  The scholars on this panel addressed the federal court system’s structure, judicial ethics, and multi-district litigation respectively.

Caruso Law professor Barry McDonald followed by leading a discussion with the alumni who currently sit on the federal bench—which included District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey (District of Nevada), District Judge André Birotte Jr. (Central District of California), District Judge Charles R. Eskridge (Southern District of Texas), and Magistrate Judge Margo A. Rocconi (Central District of California)—on the future of the situational and operational dynamics of the federal district court system.

Caruso Law professor Christine Chambers Goodman then moderated a panel discussing federal court partisanship and legitimacy, with scholars including University of California, Berkeley Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Yale Law School professor Judith Resnik, and University of Southern California Gould School of Law professor Lee Epstein.

Finally, Caruso Law professor Joel S. Johnson led a discussion on the future of consensus-building, the dissenting opinion, and technology at the U.S. Circuit Court level with Federal Circuit Judge Jimmie V. Reyna, and three members of the Ninth Circuit, Judge Consuelo M. Callahan, Judge Patrick J. Bumatay, and Judge Holly A. Thomas.  

The 2023 Pepperdine Law Review Symposium was planned by Porath, a third-year student who will be joining Alston & Bird LLP following graduation. He is grateful to the entire Pepperdine Law Review staff for helping to organize the symposium, with specific thanks to managing editor Emily Olsen, alumni and sponsorship editor Gracie Koonce, associate editors Kevin Samkian, Ethan Clements, and Michael Boelter, and editor-in-chief Maribeth Beyer.  

The full event may be viewed at Pepperdine Law Review Symposium 2023

Law review symposium alumni judges panel