Wednesday, October 23, 2019
We’re having a big week at Pepperdine Law. Our alumnus, Rick Caruso, has donated $50 million to the law school with commitments for another $50 million over the next decade. This would be big enough news, but we are excited and grateful that he and the law school are committing these resources to scholarships for underrepresented students and loan forgiveness for students in public interest and public service careers. As our slogan says, we have a mission of preparing students for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. It’s a rare and good moment to watch all of these interests align in such a significant way.
We’re in an exciting season in many ways while we navigate toward national excellence and a deep commitment to our missions and communities. This year, we’re offering eleven, diverse clinics, several practicums with regional partners, and an ever expanding national and global externship program. These collaborate with the Sudreau Global Justice Program, our Global Programs, the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law, and a robust stipend program for students in summer public interest work.
This all comes during years of reduced class sizes, so our clinical opportunities for students are greater than they ever have been. With more diverse students with greater scholarships and more opportunities for debt relief, we hope that our training and teaching yields ever greater fruit for justice, equity, inclusion, community development, and the rule of law.
Legal education, law practice, and the justice system often stoke cynicism and skepticism. There’s a lot to fix. I’m not immune to anger, frustration, and creeping despair. But in this polarized age of conflict, when the Republic shakes under the weight of corruption, racism, nationalism, and dishonesty, there’s never been a better time to set our sails to the wind and get to work.
It’s a good day at our law school. At the risk of seeming maudlin and sentimental, I am mindful of our university motto, from the Gospel of Matthew, “Freely ye received, freely give.” I am feeling that today. Even in dark days, we have bright gifts to receive and give, and we seize the moments we are given to carry on the important work of education, advocacy, empowerment, and justice.
As Rick said in the LA Times today, “If I get a bunch of these really smart lawyers who understand real social justice and real fairness in life, and you put them back in the system, I think it’ll be a real game changer.”