Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law
The information on this page was provided by the law school.
Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs
Located in the coastal community of Malibu, California, the Pepperdine University 830-acre campus has been recognized as one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation.
Proximity to Los Angeles is an added benefit. With one of the most robust legal communities in the world, the city offers access to hands-on learning opportunities and internships in a variety of practice areas—real estate, international law, entertainment, and sports, to name a few. Both Malibu and Los Angeles offer culture, dining, and recreational activities that support a healthy lifestyle near one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.
Pepperdine is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence, to its Christian mission, and to welcoming students from all faiths, as it prepares students for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.
Student Body and Community
Beyond academic excellence and a beautiful campus, what most people recognize about us is our community. Our spiritual foundation, highly accessible faculty, and over 30 student-led organizations contribute to our collegial community and the unique experience that is Pepperdine School of Law.
Pepperdine students bring a broad spectrum of backgrounds. They share a strong desire to attain high levels of achievement in academics, their personal lives, and their careers. Students come to Pepperdine from diverse socioeconomic, cultural, and religious backgrounds for the emphasis on integrity, service, and justice with a desire to become trusted leaders.
Although the faculty have distinguished themselves through scholarly research and writing, producing more than 180 law review articles and 100 additional publications in the past seven years, the faculty’s primary mission is to teach—to help students see the structure of legal thought and to be available as professional examples of a multifaceted profession. The faculty at Pepperdine are recognized for their availability to mentor and guide each student to reach his or her potential.
Library and Physical Facilities
The School of Law boasts a 40,000-square-foot law library with ocean views, as well as conference rooms, classrooms, a dining hall, ample technology services, a quiet gym, and on-campus housing.
Pepperdine offers a three-year, full-time JD program; an accelerated, two-year JD option; four-year, full-time JD/MBA and JD/MPP dual-degree programs; a five-year, full-time JD/MDiv dual-degree program; a concurrent JD/MDR-degree program; and an LLM in Dispute Resolution. A student enrolled full time in a summer session can accelerate graduation by one semester. The required core courses are complemented by an extensive selection of elective courses.
- Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution: The Straus Institute is the most comprehensive program of its type in the nation and allows students to explore in depth the alternatives to litigation. The Straus Institute teaches invaluable skills like negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
- The Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law: This innovative program is designed to prepare students for both the challenges and opportunities high technology is presenting in areas of business, real estate, securities regulation, and intellectual property rights.
- Global Programs: These opportunities include participating in the London Program, where students live, work, and study in London, England, while earning academic credit; participating in the Washington, DC, Externship Semester, which offers students the practical experience of working full time in a legal capacity for the government, nonprofits, or other related entities; and participating in an educational exchange program in Augsburg, Germany, with the University of Augsburg. Through the Straus Institute, shorter study-abroad experiences are also available each summer in Europe and Asia in alternate years.
- The Global Justice Program: This program partners with a global network of foreign judicial systems, human rights agencies, development organizations, and international universities. These partnerships provide the framework for a variety of initiatives, including juvenile justice, judicial reform, anti-human-trafficking efforts, and human rights advocacy. Through these initiatives, students and faculty collaborate to seek justice and create a lasting impact in some of the world’s most vulnerable places.
- The Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics: The Nootbaar Institute was created to explore the nexus between the three disciplines, with particular emphasis on religion and the practice of law. While affirming Pepperdine’s Christian identity, the institute draws from the largest possible pool of religious voices, seeking dialogue and common ground with other faith traditions.
- Parris Institute for Professional Formation: Leadership, character, and a passion for justice are central to the legal profession and the practice of law. The Parris Institute for Professional Formation inspires each student to invest significant time and energy in developing who they are as leaders as well as what they know as lawyers. This is achieved through mentorships, counseling, and our Professional Life Series during the first year of law school.
- Certificate Programs: Five certificate programs can be taken alongside the Juris Doctor degree. These programs supplement the traditional law school curriculum to equip students with the necessary skills to excel in their chosen careers. Certificates are available in Criminal Legal Practice; Dispute Resolution; Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law; Entrepreneurship; and International Comparative Law.
- Externship Program: Students earn academic credit for work in the field with lawyers and judges in Southern California, across the nation, and throughout the world. The School of Law facilitates placements in hundreds of judicial, governmental, military, university, public service, and public interest law offices. Field placements in select entertainment and corporate counsel offices are also available.
- Clinics: We offer the Legal Aid Clinic at the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles, the Special Education Advocacy Clinic, the Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic, the Community Justice Clinic, the Restoration and Justice Clinic, and the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. In collaboration with the Straus Institute, we offer the Investor Advocacy Clinic, Employment Mediation Clinic, and the general Mediation Clinic.
Career Development Office
The Career Development Office (CDO) assists students as they navigate their transition from student to professional. Experienced staff is available for individual appointments to discuss job-search strategies, résumé-writing and interviewing skills, networking opportunities, and other aspects of career counseling. In addition, throughout the academic year, the CDO offers workshops and programs designed to illuminate the job-search process. The CDO frequently hosts guest speakers, providing students with the opportunity to talk directly with professionals currently working in specific areas of interest. Each fall and spring, employers visit Pepperdine to interview interested law students for full-time summer and postgraduate positions.
Pepperdine has earned a national reputation for excellence in appellate advocacy and trial advocacy competitions. Editorial and staff positions are awarded for the Pepperdine Law Review, Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal, National Association of Administrative Law Judges Journal, and the Journal of Business, Entrepreneurship, and the Law.
Admission is based on the applicant’s academic record, LSAT score, and a written personal statement, as well as a response to the university’s mission statement and other information that reflects outstanding academic and professional promise. Applications are also evaluated on the basis of employment experience, extracurricular activities, community involvement, commitment to high standards of morality and ethics, maturity, initiative, and motivation. The admission process is guided by the view that a student body that reflects diversity provides a superior educational environment. Admission decisions may be based on consideration of factors that include racial and ethnic origin, unique work or service experience, a history of overcoming disadvantage, or unusual life experiences. First-year students are admitted only in the fall.
Expenses and Financial Aid
Pepperdine’s active financial aid program provides over 85 percent of the student body with some type of assistance. Scholarships are available to students with outstanding academic credentials. The deadline for completed applications for financial aid is April 1 of the entering year.
The George Page Residential Complex is located directly across the street from the Law Center. The 72-unit complex houses graduate students in four-bedroom apartments. The Admission Office also provides an extensive housing referral service.