When Paul L. Caron, founder and editor of the widely-regarded TaxProf Blog, commenced his tenure as Dean of Pepperdine University School of Law earlier this year, he faced diminishing demand for JD degrees nationwide and a shifting market for legal professionals. According to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) law schools have suffered a 38% decline in applicants since 2010.

Considered one of the foremost entrepreneurial tax scholars in the country and third most influential person in legal education as ranked by The National Jurist, Caron recognized a need to take the steps toward creating a more productive and successful law school experience: In today’s changing legal landscape, Caron’s committed his top priority as dean to increase Pepperdine Law’s student return on investment.

Caron, alongside a new leadership team, is setting out to “right-size” the law school in a financially sustainable way by investing in areas of excellence, expanding and innovating fundraising efforts, and growing non-JD enrollment for established and new graduate programs developed within areas of Pepperdine Law’s historic strength.

Pepperdine Law now offers the widest breadth of degree programs and specialized areas of interest in its history allowing students to meet more personal and professional goals. The Law School will continue to leverage its number one ranked Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution by expanding the Masters and LLM degree programs. Students can pursue joint degrees with Pepperdine University’s top-ranked schools for business, divinity, and public policy, as well as new degree options tailored for business professionals seeking legal expertise to advance their careers.

Pepperdine Law’s competitive graduate programs for attorneys and non-lawyer business professionals include LLM programs in Dispute Resolution, Commercial Arbitration, and Entertainment, Media and Sports Law. Degrees for business professionals range from a Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) and online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) to Professional Skills Programs offered by the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution.

For non-lawyer business professionals seeking to further their career, the Masters in Dispute Resolution (MDR) is designed for mid-career and executive level professionals interested in learning how to resolve office conflicts and defuse employee, customer and community disputes before they begin. Early enrollees in the program include law enforcement officers, human resource managers, and healthcare business executives. Classes are offered with flexible scheduling for working professionals with classes at Pepperdine’s West Los Angeles and Malibu campuses. For business professionals seeking the convenience of an online program, the Master of Legal Studies (MLS) enables students to develop legal expertise and credentials to advance within their profession, and they can also choose a concentration in dispute resolution.

"Pepperdine Law now offers the widest breadth of degree programs and specialized areas of interest in its history allowing students to meet more personal and professional goals."

As mediation, arbitration, and negotiation continue to explode in popularity in litigation and international affairs, the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine Law celebrates it’s thirtieth anniversary and twelfth year as the U.S. News and World Report’s number one ranked dispute resolution program in the country. Domestic and international students, new and experienced lawyers and judges, and non-legal professionals from a myriad of backgrounds, come to Straus in order to strengthen their skills as peacemakers and negotiators.

With a pulse on the shifting demands of academia, Pepperdine Law is committed to adaptability without sacrificing the absolute highest levels of academic and research excellence or commitment to faith tradition. A degree from Pepperdine Law couples a reputation for integrity with a powerful legal network, equipping generations to lead with courage and conviction.

After his first 100 days as Dean, Caron reflected, “We have hit the ground running on my priorities to build a community in which all students, faculty, and staff are loved, nurtured, and challenged to grow professionally, personally, and spiritually. All of us at Pepperdine Law feel we are making history at Pepperdine on the most beautiful law school campus in the world.”

Chelsea Audibert is Pepperdine Law Content Manager. For more information, please visit law.pepperdine.edu.

Return to Index

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.