Pepperdine University School of Law

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

Pepperdine Caruso School of Law
Pepperdine University Malibu Canyon Entrance Gate.JPG
Parent schoolPepperdine University
School typePrivate
Parent endowment$850 million
DeanPaul L. Caron
USNWR ranking46th (2022)[2]
Bar pass rate82% (July 2019 1st time takers)[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] The school would subsequently be known as the Rick J. Caruso School of Law.[8]


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.[9] Assuming no scholarship or tuition discounts, Law School Transparency estimated that the debt-financed cost of attendance for three years would total $305,817.[10]

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.[11]

Accreditation and post-graduation employmentEdit

Pepperdine University School of Law has been accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) since 1972,[12] holds membership in the Association of American Law Schools (AALS),[13] and is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners, State Bar of California.

Employment Outcomes: According to Class of 2019 data from the ABA, 75.3% of graduates obtained full-time, long term positions requiring bar admission (i.e., jobs as lawyers), 9 months after graduation.[14]

Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion and EthicsEdit

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 ProgramEdit

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.[15]

Straus Institute for Dispute ResolutionEdit

Pepperdine University School of Law’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution[16] 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.[17] The Institute has consistently ranked as the number one dispute resolution school in the nation for the past 13 years.[18]


  • Pepperdine Law Review[19][20]
  • Dispute Resolution Law Journal
  • Journal of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary (NAALJ)
  • Journal of Business, Entrepreneurship, and the Law (JBEL)

Joint degree programsEdit

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

Online programsEdit

Online Master of Legal Studies ProgramEdit

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.[21][22] Students meet weekly in live, online classes with Pepperdine Law faculty members to discuss and debate legal topics.[23]

Online Master of Dispute Resolution ProgramEdit

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.[24] All dispute resolution courses are offered through Pepperdine Law's Straus Institute, which was ranked by U.S. News & World Report.[25][26]

Notable peopleEdit


  • Ronald F. Phillips (1970 - 1997)[27]
  • 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 facultyEdit

Notable alumniEdit

Honor societiesEdit

The School of Law attained membership in the Order of the Coif in 2008.[40][41]

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. ^ a b "U.S. News & World Report, "Best Law Schools: Pepperdine University"". Retrieved April 14, 2011.
  2. ^ "Pepperdine University Caruso". Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  3. ^ Rubino, Kathryn. "California Bar Exam Results: A Breakdown By Law School (July 2019)". Above the Law. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  4. ^ list of LLM degrees here
  5. ^ "Online Graduate Programs from Pepperdine Law". Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  6. ^ "Pepperdine University Graduate School Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  7. ^ Watanabe, Teresa (October 23, 2019). "Billionaire Rick Caruso gives $50 million to Pepperdine law school to expand access for underserved students". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  8. ^ "Pepperdine School of Law Announces Historic $50 Million Commitment by Alumnus Rick J. Caruso | Pepperdine University". Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  9. ^ "Tuition and Expenses".
  10. ^ "Pepperdine University Profile".
  11. ^ "Veterans' Information". Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  12. ^ "ABA-Approved Law Schools by Year". ABA website. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  13. ^ "AALS Member Schools". Archived from the original on 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  14. ^ Law School Transparency: Pepperdine Profile
  15. ^ "Global Justice | School of Law | Pepperdine University". Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  16. ^ "Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution | School of Law | Pepperdine University". Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  17. ^ "Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine Law School". Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  18. ^ [1] Archived March 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Pepperdine Law Review | School of Law | Pepperdine University". Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  20. ^ "Pepperdine Law Review | School of Law | Pepperdine University". Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  21. ^ "Online Master of Legal Studies Degree (MLS)". Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  22. ^ "Legal Studies, Master - Online by Pepperdine University, United States -". Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  23. ^ "Pepperdine Law - Master of Legal Studies". Online Legal Studies Programs. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  24. ^ "Online Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR)". Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  25. ^ "Pepperdine Law Opens Applications for New Online Masters Program". Malibu, CA Patch. 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  26. ^ "Dispute Resolution Rankings". U.S. News.
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Gov. Perry Appoints Boyd to the Supreme Court of Texas". Office of the Governor Rick Perry. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  29. ^ "Jeffrey Boyd Appointed to Texas Supreme Court". Pepperdine University School of Law. Archived from the original on 28 December 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  30. ^ "Attorney Mark Caruso - LII Attorney Directory". Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  31. ^ "Obama nominates two Las Vegas lawyers to Nevada federal bench". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  32. ^ "Assemblyman Brent A. Jones". Nevada Legislature. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  33. ^ "Eileen C. Moore, Associate Justice - 4DCA". Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  34. ^ "Chipotle Investor Relations – Biography". Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  35. ^ "Senate Confirms Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell for California's Central District Court". Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  36. ^ "National Trial Lawyers Top 100". Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  37. ^ "SuperLawyer". Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  38. ^ "Doug Peterson Sworn in as 32nd Attorney General of Nebraska". 8 January 2015. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  39. ^ "Justice For All - Pepperdine Magazine | Pepperdine University". 2015-05-02. Retrieved 2016-09-20.
  40. ^ "Pepperdine Law School Press Release". Archived from the original on 2008-08-03. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  41. ^ Anesha Smith. "Order of The Coif Membership List". Archived from the original on 2014-03-27. Retrieved 2014-03-08.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 34°02′38″N 118°42′34″W / 34.04399°N 118.70932°W / 34.04399; -118.70932