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Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law

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Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law
Parent school Pepperdine University
Established 1969
Endowment $850 million
Dean Paul L. Caron
Location Malibu, CA, US
Enrollment 500
Faculty 87 (See List)
USNWR ranking 47
Bar pass rate 82%
Annual tuition
ABA profile link
Outlines 0 (See List)
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Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law is located in Malibu, CA

The Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law (formerly Pepperdine University School of Law) is the professional law school of Pepperdine University located in Malibu, California.

The school offers the Juris Doctor (JD), and various Masters of Laws (LLM) options in Dispute Resolution, International Commercial Arbitration, United States Law, and Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law.[1] The school also offers joint degrees with its JD and Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) in partnership with other Pepperdine University graduate schools. The school now offers an online Master of Legal Studies program and an online Master of Dispute Resolution program.[2]

The school is known for its Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution, which is ranked 2nd in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2020.[3] The School of Law's other institutes include: the Parris Institute for Professional Formation; the Byrne Judicial Clerkship Institute; the Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics; and the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law.

Through the Parris Institute, the school pairs students with a practicing attorney or judicial alumni through the students' 1L year. It also provides its students numerous clinics and externship opportunities in the greater Los Angeles area, along with its global justice programs in Uganda and India. Additionally, students have opportunities to study at Pepperdine's London, England, and Washington D.C. campuses.

On October 23, 2019, Pepperdine announced that the school had received a $50 million gift from billionaire alumnus Rick Caruso that would provide scholarships and loan-forgiveness for needy students.[4] The school would subsequently be known as the Rick J. Caruso School of Law.[5]


The total cost of attendance, which includes the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses at Pepperdine Law for the 2017-2018 academic year is $81,260.[6] Assuming no scholarship or tuition discounts, Law School Transparency estimated that the debt-financed cost of attendance for three years would total $305,817.[7]

Pepperdine Law currently participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which matches Veterans' GI Bill benefits to cover 100% of all costs and fees for veterans who enroll at the law school.[8]

Accreditation and post-graduation employment

Pepperdine University School of Law has been accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) since 1972,[9] holds membership in the Association of American Law Schools (AALS),[10] and is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners, State Bar of California.

Employment Outcomes: According to Class of 2017 data from the ABA, 59.6% of graduates obtained full-time, long term positions requiring bar admission (i.e., jobs as lawyers), 9 months after graduation.[11]

Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion and Ethics

The purpose of the Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics includes three initiatives:

  1. Scholarship with respect to issues at the intersection of law and religion;
  2. Domestic Justice Initiatives, such as the Legal Aid Clinic and the Asylum and Refugee Clinic; and
  3. the Global Justice Program.

Sudreau Global Justice Program

The Sudreau Global Justice Program has initiatives in international human rights and religious freedom; advancement of the rule of law; and global development. In 2017, Pepperdine Law announced the endowment of the Program made possible by the generosity of alumna Laure Sudreau (JD ’97). The $8 million contribution is the largest single endowment gift ever to the School of Law and will help advance the profound impact of the Global Justice Program, which operates within the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics at the School of Law.[12]

Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

Pepperdine University School of Law’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution[13] provides professional training and academic programs in dispute resolution including a Certificate, Masters in Dispute Resolution (MDR) and Masters of Laws in Dispute Resolution (LLM). The Straus Institute provides education to law and graduate students, as well as mid-career professionals in areas of mediation, negotiation, arbitration, international dispute resolution and peacemaking.[14] The Institute has consistently ranked as the number one dispute resolution school in the nation for the past 13 years.[15]


  • Pepperdine Law Review[16][17]
  • Dispute Resolution Law Journal
  • Journal of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary (NAALJ)
  • Journal of Business, Entrepreneurship, and the Law (JBEL)

Joint degree programs

Pepperdine Law offers six joint degrees, which include the JD/MBA, JD/MDiv, JD/Master of Public Policy (MPP), JD/ Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR), MDR/MPP, and MDR/MBA.

Online programs

Online Master of Legal Studies Program

Pepperdine Law offers a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree online with an optional concentration in dispute resolution. The program is designed for non-lawyers who work with the law in some capacity and need a foundation in legal concepts and procedures. Students take courses on contracts, regulatory compliance, civil procedure, and intellectual property, among others.[18] Students meet weekly in live, online classes with Pepperdine Law faculty members to discuss and debate legal topics.

Online Master of Dispute Resolution Program

The online Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) program is designed for professionals who want to become more effective leaders and problem solvers by learning to resolve workplace conflict, prevent obstacles, and negotiate complex transactions.[19] All dispute resolution courses are offered through Pepperdine Law's Straus Institute, which was ranked by U.S. News & World Report.[20][21]

Notable people


  • Ronald F. Phillips (1970 - 1997)[22]
  • Richardson R. Lynn (1997 - 2003)
  • Charles Nelson (2003 - 2004)
  • Ken Starr (2004 - 2010)
  • Thomas G. Bost (2010 - 2011)
  • Deanell Reece Tacha (2011 - 2017)
  • Paul L. Caron (2017 - present)


Visiting faculty

Guest speakers

Notable alumni

Honor societies

The School of Law attained membership in the Order of the Coif in 2008.[31][32]

Pepperdine School of Law is also home to the Prosser Inn of Phi Delta Phi, the International Legal Honor Society. Members must achieve standing in the top thirty percent of their class to be considered for membership.


  1. list of LLM degrees here
  2.  Online Graduate Programs from Pepperdine Law,
  3. Pepperdine University Graduate School Rankings,
  4.  Billionaire Rick Caruso gives $50 million to Pepperdine law school to expand access for underserved studentsLos Angeles Times  (October 23, 2019)
  5. Pepperdine School of Law Announces Historic $50 Million Commitment by Alumnus Rick J. Caruso | Pepperdine University,
  6. Tuition and Expenses,
  7. Pepperdine University Profile,
  8. Veterans' Information,
  9. ABA-Approved Law Schools by Year, ABA website
  10. AALS Member Schools,
  11. Full Rankings: Bar Admission Required, Full-Time, Long Term - For the latest Employment Summary Reports from the American Bar Association, Section of Legal Education, see
  12. Global Justice | School of Law | Pepperdine University,
  13. Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution | School of Law | Pepperdine University,
  14. Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine Law School,
  15. [1] Archived from the original on March 8, 2009
  16. Pepperdine Law Review | School of Law | Pepperdine University,
  17. Pepperdine Law Review | School of Law | Pepperdine University,
  18.  Online Master of Legal Studies Degree (MLS),
  19.  Online Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR),
  20.  Pepperdine Law Opens Applications for New Online Masters ProgramMalibu, CA Patch  (2017-04-27)
  21. Dispute Resolution Rankings,
  23. Gov. Perry Appoints Boyd to the Supreme Court of Texas,
  24. Jeffrey Boyd Appointed to Texas Supreme Court,
  25. Attorney Mark Caruso - LII Attorney Directory,
  26. Assemblyman Brent A. Jones,
  27. Eileen C. Moore, Associate Justice - 4DCA,
  28. Senate Confirms Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell for California's Central District ourt,
  29.  Doug Peterson Sworn in as 32nd Attorney General of Nebraska,  (8 January 2015)
  30. Justice For All - Pepperdine Magazine | Pepperdine University, (2015-05-02)
  31. Pepperdine Law School Press Release,
  32. Order of The Coif Membership List,

External links