Welcome Back Message to Pepperdine Caruso Law Students from Dean Paul Caron
Dean Paul L. Caron's message welcoming back Pepperdine Caruso Law students to the spring 2021 semester:
As we begin the year with a renewed sense of hope and purpose, I want to welcome you to the spring 2021 semester at Pepperdine Caruso Law. I pray that this email finds you and your loved ones safe and well. I continue to be deeply inspired and humbled by you. You continue to show incredible resilience and determination during these extraordinarily difficult times.
With Los Angeles County still classified in the "Widespread" or "Purple Tier" according to the State of California Blueprint for a Safer Economy, we are starting the spring semester fully online. If public health authorities permit us to open campus, even on a limited basis, we hope to make study spaces available to our students and use outdoor spaces for small group discussions and student meetings. Graduation is scheduled for Friday, May 21 at 3:00 PM, and we continue to pray that we will be able to hold the ceremony on campus, with the class of 2020 in attendance as well. As safety is our top priority, any on campus activities will be conducted in strict accordance with all state, county, and University safety protocols.
We are also starting our spring semester in a nation that is painfully divided. I recently joined nearly 160 other law school deans in this statement on the 2020 election and the January 6 events at the U.S. Capitol. It is a rare occasion for such a diverse group of law school deans to come together to speak as one on an issue outside the purview of legal education. We concluded our statement with these words:
As legal educators and lawyers ourselves, we must redouble our efforts to restore faith in the rule of law and the ideals of the legal profession. We have enormous faith in the law's enduring values and in our students, who will soon lead this profession. We call upon all members of the legal profession to join us in the vital work ahead.
The law school remains committed to providing a robust exchange of ideas and civil dialogue. Along with many community events last semester, as part of the Dean's Speaker Series we heard from Emory Professor Dorothy Brown on critical race theory, Princeton Professor Robert George on campus illiberalism and the future of higher education, and Reverend Will Morris on God in the workplace. I hope you will join us on Tuesday, January 26 at 12:45 PM for a special Dean's Speaker Series event hosted by Dean Chalak Richards with Pastor Eugene Cho and Rabbi Sharon Brous on The Intersection of Faith, Social Justice, and Racial Reconciliation in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We offer our heartiest congratulations to the Class of 2020 graduates who passed the recent bar exam. Nearly 81% of the Class of 2020 passed the California bar exam and 91% passed the bar exam in other states. Although this year's California pass rate is close to the Class of 2019's pass rate, it is lower than the overall first-time pass rate for California's ABA-accredited law schools. We will be critically evaluating all data in the coming weeks and months to see how we can better serve our students and better prepare them to successfully pass future bar exams. In the meantime, I hope you will join us on Thursday, January 21 at 6:00 PM for our virtual bar swearing-in ceremony to celebrate the incredible grit shown by the Class of 2020, who persevered through a devastating fire, an unprecedented pandemic, and bitter national unrest.
Let me end by emphasizing how deeply proud I am of your commitment to your legal education and to our school. While this is an incredibly difficult season, there is no better time to be in law school. The country, and the world, need compassionate, smart, and dedicated leaders and advocates like you are training to be. I pray we continue to come together as a community to help one another, to sharpen one another, and to love one another. I am confident that we will all get through this time and emerge stronger for overcoming these challenges together.
Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4