Pepperdine University School of Law 45 Years Ago

A bit of self-indulgence today … it was 45 years ago today that I graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law, after having completed Pepperdine’s 4 year night school program.

I started at Pepperdine when it was located in a converted strip mall in Garden Grove and attended classes there for 2 years, after which the law school moved to a converted warehouse in Anaheim (previously the Buzza-Cardoza card company’s warehouse).

As a result, I missed attending school at Pepperdine’s gorgeous campus in Malibu, to which the law school moved in 1978.

Now called the Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law, the school’s website history page has the following to say about the year before I started and the years I attended:

1970 – Pepperdine’s School of Law operates out of a free-standing two-story frame building in Santa Ana, California. The school earns the State Bar of California provisional accreditation and has its first full-time day class of 34 students. The first full-time faculty member is Professor Wadieh Shibley, and the first full-time dean is Ronald F. Phillips.

1971 – Professors Charles Nelson and James McGoldrick join the faculty.

1972 – Pepperdine earns its provisional ABA approval and establishes the Pepperdine Law Review. Barbara McDonald is the journal’s first editor-in-chief.

1973 – The law school relocates to a larger facility in Anaheim, California. Professor Frederick I. Moreau serves as the first Distinguished Visiting Professor. The school’s first moot court dinner — which became the annual Caruso School of Law dinner — is held at the Disneyland Hotel.

1974 – Student Gayle Posner serves as a special intern to United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger.

1975 – Pepperdine receives full ABA approval and full State Bar accreditation.

My final interview for admission to Pepperdine was conducted by Dean Phillips himself and I had as teachers, at one time or another, each of the three professors mentioned in the history. In fact, as I recall, I had Jim McGoldrick for several of my classes, at least one each year.

My criminal law instructor during my first year of law school was Orange County’s District Attorney at the time, Cecil Hicks. After I graduated and passed the bar exam in 1975, I was one of three new Deputy DAs that Cecil hired to start working in January 1976. The nearly 10 years I spent working in his office was the best job I’ve ever had in my life.

I thoroughly enjoyed my law school years, despite having to work full-time during the day and attend classes from 6:30 to 9:30 in the evening, three or four nights a week. I was also heavily involved in school activities, serving as President of the Student Bar Association for academic year 1973-74 …

… and participating in the Pepperdine Moot Court program. I won the Vincent J. Dalsimer Award as the Top Advocate Award of the 1975 Moot Court competition. That award earned me a place as a member of Pepperdine’s team at the Roger J. Traynor California Moot Court Competition held at the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law in April 1975.

Academically, I graduated cum laude, standing 3rd in my class …

… and was on the Dean’s Honor Roll each year.

I also earned five American Jurisprudence awards, standing first in my class in the individual subjects of torts, contracts, constitutional law, conflict of laws and labor law.

It has been a long time, but I still have fond memories of my law school years.


— FLA 83 —

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