D I V E RS I TY AN D B E L O N G I N G R E P O R T
Message from the dean PEPPERDINE CARUSO LAW HAS RISEN FURTHER AND FASTER THAN ANY PRIVATE LAW SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY. Our commitment to diversity and belonging is foundational to our rise and to our law school community. It is rooted in our fusion of excellence and faith that no other law school can match.
We are in a unique moment in the history of our country and in the history of our law school. The death of George Floyd sparked growing demands for racial justice and compelled all institutions, including Pepperdine, to re-examine and renew their commitment to rooting out injustice wherever it is found. As always, we turn to Scripture for guidance and affirm that we are all created in God’s image and called to do God’s work in this world by loving one another. At Pepperdine Caruso Law, we have rallied around the command in Micah 6:8, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” This report reflects the work of the past year, which built upon the strong foundation of the law school. Over the past four years, we have increased the diversity of our student body, faculty, staff, and alumni leadership boards, but we have much, much more work to do. We are making great strides in building an even better Caruso Law that is more welcoming to all of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I look forward to continuing this work with our community together, in a spirit of grace and humility. — Paul L. Caron Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean
Contents 3 Unprecedented 4 Recruitment 6 Retention 8 Institutional Transformation 12 Vision Forward
CARUSO SCHOOL OF LAW
Unprecedented HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE HEARD THAT WORD IN THE PAST YEAR? It has almost become
cliched to say that 2020 was unprecedented—and yet, I can think of no other word to describe the emergence of the diversity and belonging movement at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law in 2020–2021. Unprecedented leadership: for the first time, a dean position with diversity and belonging in its title.
Unprecedented scholarly programming: for the first time, we had consistent and scholarly programming around race and diversity, and their intersections with the law. Unprecedented research: for the first time, we published a strategic plan involving ongoing qualitative research. Unprecedented admissions activity: for the first time, we offered a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) scholarship program and saw the highest amount of underrepresented applicants and HBCU applicants in Caruso Law history. Unprecedented events: for the first time, we held an awards ceremony dedicated to diversity and belonging. This report delves deeply into the unprecedented nature of academic year 2020–2021. It is anchored around the diversity and belonging strategic plan and is structured over three areas: recruitment, retention, and institutional transformation. Who do we bring into the Caruso Law community? How do we keep them in the community? How do we make our community a place where all feel—and know—that they belong? This report attempts to shed light on how we are answering these questions, and demonstrates that our evolving work requires unprecedented action. The danger, however, with focusing on the unprecedented, is resting on laurels. That is why each section includes calls to action. Those calls to action are synthesized in the final section of this work, the vision forward. It lays out our goals for 2021–2022 and contains invitations for all members of our community to partner with us. My prayer is that your time with this report sparks an interest in you to partner with us and be one of our unprecedented belonging champions. I hope that you will reach out to me to discuss how we can continue to build an unprecedented Caruso Law community. — CHALAK RICHARDS (JD ’12) Assistant Dean of Student Life, Diversity, and Belonging CARUSO SCHOOL OF LAW
Recruitment RECRUITMENT IS THE FIRST STEP TO DIVERSIFYING THE STUDENT BODY at Pepperdine Caruso Law. We cannot reach the important goals of diversity and belonging across the legal profession without examining who has the opportunity to become an attorney. It is therefore essential that we seek to increase the number of historically underrepresented and marginalized groups who apply to and are accepted at Caruso Law. The thought of who we bring into our community requires introspection. We first had to consider where we perform our recruitment and quickly determined that we needed to enhance our relationships with institutions serving marginalized and historically underrepresented groups.
/// SUPPORT OUR RECRUITMENT EFFORTS by giving to student scholarships or diversity pipeline programs. /// SERVE AS AN AMBASSADOR at admissions events or become a mentor in our pipeline program.
“This past year, the student-led Multicultural Law Caucus created the MLC Support Network for potential law school applicants who come from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the legal industry. Our goal is to share our resources, provide encouragement, and even out the playing fields for those entering the legal field who don’t have lawyers in their immediate network. We have been partnering with assistant dean Richards to host panels at local community colleges, as well as reaching out to colleges in the L.A. area. These panels have been very successful and we have recruited more than forty students who are interested in applying to law school and looking for support. Participants are paired with current law students and encouraged to ask questions about the application process and law school in general. We strive to demystify the application process and help make law school accessible to everyone.”
We hosted the For People of Color admissions conference for the third consecutive year.
We joined the California Leadership-AccessWorkforce (LAW) Pathways to Law program in February 2020. This fruitful partnership led to relationships with several community colleges and undergraduate institutions.
We have continued our commitment to expanding our pool of applicants by creating targeted partnerships with HBCUs. In September 2020, we announced guaranteed scholarships for students graduating from any of the 106 accredited HBCUs who apply to and enroll at Caruso Law.
— LINH TRAN (current student) — DEEPIKA CHANDRASHEKAR (current student)
ALUMNA ZNA PORTLOCK HOUSTON (’84, JD ’87) has been
instrumental in our partnerships with HBCUs. “Caruso Law is taking an innovative approach in its continued quest to assure that the law school is composed of students with diverse
perspectives and backgrounds,” she says. The HBCU initiative is an important part of fulfilling the mission of Caruso Law. In part, the mission requires the school’s efforts “to convey to its students not only the knowledge of how to employ the law, but also an awareness of the responsibilities to society that accompany the power inherent in that knowledge. . . . Diversity allows for the growth of multidimensional awareness. I am pleased to be
DIVERSITY AND BELONGING REPORT 2020–2021
associated with an institution that understands the connection between the mission and diversity and strives to create a pathway for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to find their way to Caruso Law. Caruso Law is at the pioneering edge of making a difference in the law by graduating students who understand that our differences are to be championed and ultimately our shared space allows us to embrace our commonalities.”
FACULTY I KNEW I WANTED TO BECOME A LAWYER SINCE THE AGE OF THREE.
Becoming a lawyer has literally been a lifelong dream for me. As a first-generation American citizen, I am especially thankful for all the sacrifices my parents made since we immigrated to America, which paved the way for me. — IFECHINYERE AGBODIKE (JD ‘21, MDR ‘21)
We know that our professors’ demographics are important in diversifying our faculty’s scholarship and classroom teaching. This year we were excited to extend offers to several faculty candidates of color. And we are delighted that Jennifer Koh has joined us as an associate professor of law. We also began recruiting aspiring legal academics to serve as visiting assistant professors. The goal in making these appointments is to provide candidates who have not yet had such opportunities to spend up to two years gaining experience teaching and writing scholarship as a segue to the tenure-track law professor market.
/// CONTACT US TO SUGGEST EXCELLENT CANDIDATES with stellar academic credentials and the Pepperdine character who could be candidates for a visiting assistant professorship.
JENNIFER KOH WAS A VISITING PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE and the University of
Washington law schools in 2020–2021. Her most recent article, Executive Defiance and the Deportation State, appears in the Yale Law Journal.
CARUSO SCHOOL OF LAW
Retention WE KNOW THAT RECRUITING STELLAR PEOPLE TO BE PART OF THE CARUSO LAW COMMUNITY IS IMPORTANT, BUT IT’S ONLY THE FIRST STEP. It is essential that we keep our
community together and set up each member for success. We have worked diligently this year to maximize the number of students, faculty, and staff from marginalized groups who advance through the educational and professional pipeline at Caruso Law, with a specific focus on supporting the professional success of historically underrepresented students. We hosted Mentor Jet, a networking event that provided our students the opportunity to meet with lawyers and judges. We partnered with several local bar associations,
/// BE A mentor to current students, speak on an academic success panel, or help employ our graduates.
DIVERSITY AND BELONGING REPORT 2020–2021
including the Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Association, the Black Women Lawyers Association Los Angeles Chapter, the Latina Lawyers Bar Association, the Multicultural Bar Alliance of Southern California, the National Association of Women Judges, and the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles. We hosted the Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Mentor Program, which encourages students and young lawyers from historically underrepresented communities to consider applying for the bench. We were honored to host the California Judges Association presentation of Law Student Wellness and Ethics, which focused on implicit bias, ethics, and wellness.
Event Attendance 185
Black History Month Conversations
Dean’s Speaker Series Events
Race and the Law Series
Black Women and the Law Summit
Reimagining Justice Series
Women’s History Month Panel
Awards YOUNG ALUMNUS AWARD
STUDENT ORGANIZATION AWARD
The Young Alumnus Award highlights an alumnus or alumna who graduated in the past five years who takes action in the community to promote diversity and belonging.
The Faculty Award celebrates a professor at the Caruso School of Law who is a model to students on how to incorporate diversity and belonging into their lives both inside and outside of the classroom.
The work of a student association that builds community and belonging at the School of Law is honored with the Student Organization Award.
LARRY KIMMONS JUSTICE AWARD
INDIVIDUAL STUDENT AWARD
Presented to an alumnus or student who advocates for social, racial, and civil justice, the Larry Kimmons Justice Award memorializes Larry Kimmons, who was tragically killed on March 12, 1969.
The Individual Student Award highlights a student who is a leader in fostering belonging and exemplifies commitment to the community at the School of Law.
The Alumnus Award honors an alumnus or alumna who is committed to promoting and developing diversity and belonging in their profession.
$1,000 IN PRIZES
We presented a $500 prize with the Individual Student and Student Organization Awards. Our goal is to present a minimum of $1,000 for each award next year, and continue to increase the amount of the award every year.
Seventy-three students from historically underrepresented backgrounds were supported by scholarships.
/// DONATE AND HELP US INCREASE the support we award to deserving students. CARUSO SCHOOL OF LAW
Institutional Transformation CREATING A PLACE WHERE ALL BELONG Truly being a place of belonging requires more than simply having a significant number of people from various backgrounds and identities; it means that the community climate is one of equity, inclusion, and belonging. We recognize that this is some of the most important—and most complex—work that must be done at Caruso Law. We therefore have begun establishing building blocks to transform each dimension of climate and culture so that our members experience equity and inclusion. This work involves reviewing the historical and sociological contexts of the school and addressing the psychological and behavioral aspects that impact the extent to which individuals perceive conflict and discrimination on campus, feel singled out because of their background, or perceive institutional support or commitment related to diversity. We also see the need to address the mental models that reflect unconscious, taken-for-granted beliefs, perceptions, thoughts, and feelings rooted in the oppression of marginalized groups. This is deep and ongoing work, and we know that we have only just begun.
BELONGING AWARDS The Belonging Awards event was the touchstone of the academic year. A newly created ceremony, it provided a forum in which to celebrate the diversity of the Caruso Law students, faculty, staff, and alumni. We want all members of the Caruso Law community, from every background, identity, and ideology, to know that they are not only tolerated, not only welcomed, but honored and celebrated. We look forward to this annual ceremony because what we value, we celebrate. This inaugural event honored three alumni through the Alumnus Award, Larry D. Kimmons Justice Award, and Young Alumnus Award. We also recognized the First Generation Law Student Association as the student organization of the year and student Thurgood Wynn with the individual student award. Leaders from 10 student organizations shared their stories and hopes for Caruso Law with an overarching theme: we must hear and honor all members of our community to truly be a place where all belong.
ALUMNUS AWARD “Do not fall into the paradigm of what’s always been done in the past.” — RICH CHO (JD ’97)
LARRY D. KIMMONS JUSTICE AWARD “I’m so grateful for the contributions of the students, the professors who poured into me, and the friendships that I made at Pepperdine Law school, but our work is far from done. The fight for true racial equity has to require all of us, and I believe it is a fight close to the heart of God.”
“I am elated that my alma mater is taking seriously the charge to promote a more inclusive legal community. We each have a responsibility, no matter our background, to contribute to making the legal profession more equitable and accessible to individuals from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.”
— RACHEL ROSSI (JD ’09)
— BRITTANY HUGHES (JD ’17)
/// SPONSOR an award at the Belonging Awards!
YOUNG ALUMNUS AWARD
DIVERSITY AND BELONGING REPORT 2020–2021
I WAS EXTREMELY ENCOURAGED BY THE OCTOBER PANEL FOCUSED ON ASSISTING THOSE IN THE DEEPLY COMPLICATED ENVIRONMENT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Speaking as a survivor and advocate, the panelists exhibited a level of informed compassion that I personally haven’t experienced as a mainstream attitude from legal professionals. It is another example of how Pepperdine Caruso School of Law is genuinely equipping students to lead and empowering them to serve. I am so grateful.” —SHELLEY ALLEN (MDR ’20, MLS ’21)
REIMAGINING JUSTICE The Reimagining Justice series is aimed at bringing together students, alumni, faculty, and staff to discuss timely social justice issues. We held conversations around criminal justice based on the film Just Mercy, voting rights based on the life and legacy of Congressman John Lewis, disparities in educational access, the impact of COVID-19 on intimate partner and domestic violence, and youth and the justice system.
RACE AND THE LAW The Race and the Law series is based on Dorothy Brown’s book Critical Race Theory, which examines doctrinal subjects through the lens of race and diversity. We hosted conversations throughout the year with Caruso Law faculty on criminal procedure, property, civil procedure, and contracts law.
CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR MONTHLY COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHTS
/// SUGGEST a student or alumnus for a spotlight! CARUSO SCHOOL OF LAW
CARUSO LAW WAS ONE OF THE MOST SUPPORTIVE PARTNERS IN HIGHER EDUCATION. Caruso Law has supported LA vs Hate events that serve as
strategies to promote inclusion, public safety, and respect for all. LA vs Hate is a close ally of Pepperdine and Caruso Law, providing letters of support, speakers, customized digital media art, technical assistance, and support for different university and student requests. —THERESA VILLA MCDOWELL LA vs Hate Program Coordinator
Institutional Transformation Continued DIVERSITY WEEK
Diversity Week at Pepperdine Caruso Law is an annual series of events designed to bring the community together to celebrate the rich cultural and spiritual diversity that exists among our student body, alumni, faculty, and staff. Held entirely online this year, events included the first Race and the Law discussion with author Dorothy Brown, an Interfaith Panel discussion, an Open Conversation focused on “Finding Hope and Making Progress on Racial Justice and Equity,” a Constitution Day program themed “Black Lives Matter and the US Constitution,” and a discussion titled “Diversity on the Bench.”
We were pleased to host several rigorous scholarly conversations through the Black Women and the Law Summit’s MLK Day program featuring Reverend Eugene Cho and Rabbi Sharon Braus in conversation with professor Meera Deo, as well as a number of Black History Month programs.
PARTNERSHIP WITH LA VS. HATE The important work of institutional transformation involves looking outward to the legal and general community. We are pleased to partner with LA vs. Hate.
/// SUGGEST A TOPIC OR SPEAKER for the Race and the Law, Reimagining Justice, or Dean’s Speaker Series.
DIVERSITY AND BELONGING REPORT 2020–2021
ABA DAY OF CONVERSATION We hosted the ABA Day of Conversation for our female faculty and staff. This event brought women faculty and staff together to discuss the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession’s report, “This Talk Isn’t Cheap: Women of Color and White Women Attorneys Find Common Ground.” Attendees said this was a meaningful conversation that helped our community to grow and stretch and become more honest with one another.
FUNDRAISING The diversity and belonging program’s budget this year was generously funded by our supporters. We are very grateful for this support and have worked diligently to be excellent stewards of these gifts. This year’s donors provided sponsorship for the Belonging Awards, race and the law books for students, faculty, and staff, and important research for the school. We listed diversity and belonging as a priority for Give2Pepp, Pepperdine’s annual day of giving, and more than 50 donors became new supporters of diversity and belonging at Caruso Law.
BELONGING CHAMPIONS We are excited to launch our Belonging Champions Program, through which all members of our community can support diversity and belonging. Support is needed for student scholarships, student organizations, the annual Belonging Awards gala event, and for the Diversity Enhancement Fund. Join us as a Belonging Champion and pledge to give a minimum of $10 per month. You can complete your Belonging Champion gift at one time or in monthly payments.
/// OUR GOAL is to enroll 100 Belonging Champions by the next Belonging Awards in March of 2022! Join us today online, or contact Mavis Bortey-fio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUR SPONSORS Judith Barton Rodrigue Batravil (Belonging Awards Patron Sponsor) Sharifa Batts (MBA ’18) Gael Britt Courtney and Paul Caron Joe Castro (Current Student, Caruso School of Law) La Shonda and Michael Coleman Tanya and Stephen Cooper Selah Crisp (Current Student, Caruso School of Law) Shara Darden Valarie Dean (Belonging Awards Patron Sponsor) Adriana De Leon Jessie (JD ’11) and Brian (JD ’09) Fahy Michelle Feinstein
Arneta Finney (Belonging Awards Patron Sponsor)
In memory of V. G. Guinses (Belonging Awards Patron Sponsor)
Cedric Houston Joy Humphrey
Alkida Hysenbegasi (LLM ’21)
Patricia Park (JD ’12) (Belonging Awards Patron Sponsor)
Caroline Koonce (Current Student, Caruso School of Law)
Adell Walker Kate Warner (’10) (’11)
MDC Catering (Belonging Awards Patron Sponsor) Mexican American Bar Association, Los Angeles Chapter (Belonging Awards Patron Sponsor)
LaCrisia Hobbs-Gilbert (MDR ’97)
Lacy Smith (Belonging Awards Patron Sponsor)
Eurbaine Washington (MLS ’20) Bruce Williams Alecia Winfield (JD ’00) Beverly Wright Maria Wright (EdD ’19) Andrea Yang
Sajni Patel (Current Student, Caruso School of Law)
Korean American Bar Association of Southern California (Belonging Awards Patron Sponsor)
Danielle Price (JD ’12)
Kevin Kilroy (Current Student, Caruso School of Law)
Lisa Regn (JD ’12)
Erika Pringle Michael Quigley (JD ’83) Teresa Roberts (’70) Gabrielle Selden
CARUSO SCHOOL OF LAW
WHETHER A CHECK IS FOR $10 OR $10,000, giving at all levels of engagement is important to the success of Caruso Law and binds us all together to a shared mutual objective. — ZNA PORTLOCK HOUSTON (’84, JD ’87)
Vision Forward WE HAVE HEARD CALLS FOR PEACE THIS YEAR, particularly as society engaged in difficult discourse around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Some have meant peace that ignores the hard truths of inequality and injustice; but that is not peace. We must embrace the nuances and difficulties of the human experience so that we can move toward the presence of justice, the presence of equality, and the presence of righteousness. Our theme for 2021–2022 is therefore “Peace: The Presence of Justice.” We will be engaging in rigorous scholarly conversations that sit in the nuanced and gray areas of society and the law, in order to find and bring forth justice. In the context of our three structural areas, the presence of justice will be implemented by:
RECRUITMENT: addressing inequities in access to law school. We will continue our work with Pathways to Law, our HBCU partnerships, and increase our outreach to Hispanicserving institutions. We will continue building pipeline programs that can encourage people of all identities to join the law. We will also continue to work closely with the deans of faculty and student affairs leadership to attract faculty of color and of various backgrounds to Caruso Law.
RETENTION: providing increasing student support and resources. We will build the programs and support for our students from first-generation, historically underrepresented, and other backgrounds to help them achieve academic success. We will work closely with the Career Development Office to ensure that all our students continue to reach their full career potential. We will continue to raise funds to support our students and student organizations.
/// JOIN US in 2021–2022 in this community of peacemakers.
DIVERSITY AND BELONGING REPORT 2020–2021
TRANSFORMATION: continuing to engage in rigorous scholarly conversations. We will delve deeper into doctrinal subjects through the Race and the Law and Reimagining Justice series, introduce thoughtful scholars to the Caruso Law community, and hold faculty workshops. We will provide even more opportunities for students and alumni to connect with each other. We will engage with our community through our work with LA vs. Hate and the City of Los Angeles Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department. We will continue to celebrate the diversity of our community through the Belonging Awards.
TRUE PEACE IS NOT MERELY THE ABSENCE OF TENSION; IT IS THE PRESENCE OF JUSTICE. . . . PEACE IS NOT MERELY THE ABSENCE OF SOMETHING. BUT IT’S THE PRESENCE OF SOMETHING.
— DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
24255 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, CA 90263 | 310.506.4611