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Pepperdine University School of Law

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Pepperdine University

A school with a solid reputation and a dream-come-true Malibu location is certain to attract applications from students all over the country and world. And Pepperdine does. With its strong academic programs, knowledgeable and hands-on faculty, and stunning campus, Pepperdine Law seems a likely candidate for a continued rankings boost. Pepperdine Law holds a unique position in legal education with its combination of academic and research excellence with a deep-rooted commitment to its Christian mission. The school's Dean Paul Caron, a widely respected tax law scholar, says, "Our students are equipped to lead and empowered to serve in the rapidly changing legal landscape they enter. If you are looking for an elite law school that will invest in you academically, personally, and professionally—one that will know you and your passions and help you realize your dreams for a purposeful and rewarding career—there is simply no place like Pepperdine."

Admissions & Tuition Information'

Pepperdine View
Pepperdine Law maintains high admission standards. In 2016, the school received 2,375 applications and extended 1,109 offers. Of those admitted students, the 25th to 75th percentile GPA range was 3.3-3.71 and the range for the LSAT was 154-162-with medians of 3.59 and 160, respectively.

Tuition at Pepperdine law for the 2017-18 school year is $54,200. Given the school's rank, quality-of-life, and high starting salaries, this seems high but acceptable. The cost of attendance represents the average amount believed to be adequate to cover the tuition, fees, books, and living expense of the student for the nine month academic year. This figure also represents the maximum total financial aid package (all loans and scholarship combined) a law student can expect to receive per year. However, a majority of students receive grants from the financial aid office. And many of those grants are substantial. Nearly one fourth of the 2016-2017 entering class received half to full tuition.

Employment prospects & bar passage

Pepperdine Law School
Pepperdine Law graduates pass the bar at a rate of 77.66%. Relatively speaking, Pepperdine graduates are performing well: the California Bar is notoriously difficult, with a state-wide passage rate of only 71.43%.

An average of nine months after graduation, Pepperdine graduates are doing quite well for themselves. Not only do 92% of graduates have jobs at this point, but they enjoy more-than-comfortable starting salaries. Those who entered the private sector in 2007 (75% of graduates) earned salaries ranging from $80,000 for the 25th percentile to $140,000 for the 75th percentile; the median was $100,000. And although those who entered public service made less than their private-practice counterparts, they earned a median starting salary which, at $56,000, is higher than that of most public-service graduates around the country.

As far as mobility is concerned, Pepperdine epitomizes the regional-school model. With over 75% of graduates remaining in California after graduation, it becomes obvious that Pepperdine's reputation is strongest in the Pacific region. It is not impossible to leave the state; however, as shown by the 24% of graduates who found work elsewhere including 2% who even went to work in a foreign country. These latter cases should be considered exceptions, however, and prospective students should be aware of Pepperdine's limited reputation. Then again, with all the benefits that a West-coast life offers, it seems that few arms have to be twisted in order to convince graduates to stay local.  


Pepperdine Law School
Pepperdine University has some truly stellar academic programs. The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution program is the #1 program in the country according to the USNews specialty rankings, and the school is known to be one of the best for entertainment law. Pepperdine is also strong in tax law, international law, and intellectual property, among other fields. In addition to a traditional JD, the school offers joint degree programs, a Master of Laws (LLM), an Online Master of Legal Studies (MLS), certificates in dispute resolution and entertainment, media, and sports (EMS), and other programs for professionals.

The faculty and staff display an uncompromising devotion to each student's personal development and career goals. Students can engage in trial advocacy programs and competitions, an annual professional formation week, judicial clerkships, clinical programs, and global justice initiatives. Additionally, The Nootbaar Institute regularly hosts a conference on an important and thought provoking topic. Addressing a wide range of issues such as religious freedom, human rights, and diversity, the Institute seeks to bring top scholars, lawyers, students, and the community together to ultimately have a positive impact on society.

Much of Pepperdine's academic capability stems from the faculty's ability to engage the student body. In fact, the Princeton Review consistently ranks Pepperdine in the top-10 on a list of schools with "Professors that rock". In addition, Dean of the law school Paul Caron was named the third most influential person in legal education by the National Jurist in 2015 and 2016 and has been listed as one of the 100 most influential people in tax and accounting every year since 2006 by Accounting Today. The profs can't take all the credit, however, as Pepperdine's academic programs offer students some truly invaluable experiences. Students rave about the school's Los Angeles externship program, for example, and the international entertainment law program at the school's London campus certainly helps to give Pepperdine grads a leg up on the competition.

Quality of life

Pepperdine Law School
Two factors dominate the quality of life at Pepperdine: the school's picturesque Malibu setting and the famously conservative politics.

Students couldn't ask for a more ideal location. Located right on the Pacific Ocean, in one of California's most beautiful towns, Pepperdine offers its students an environment they are unlikely to find anywhere else. Beach volleyball, surfing, swimming, you name it; if it has to do with fun in the sun, Pepperdine students have access to it.  Hands down, Pepperdine offers one of the best campuses in the country.

Prospective students should not simply look at the school's location and conclude that it will provide them with the quality-of-life they are searching for. One needs to look also at the school's overall ideologies, for this is the context in which ideas are circulated. Founded in the Church of Christ tradition, Pepperdine University incorporates Christian principles into academic and daily life in a way that supports and guides the educational process for people of all faith backgrounds. Pepperdine Law prides itself on its rich cultural, spiritual, and political diversity among its student body.


Pepperdine Law offers a wonderful experience, full of beautiful scenery and engaging academics. To be sure, it is a mix hard to find elsewhere.  While TLS always recommends that you visit any law school that you are considering, this is particularly true of beautiful Pepperdine.

Quick reference

Pepperdine Law School

Pepperdine University School of Law. Retrieved August 29, 2014
U.S. News Ranking: 72nd
LSAT Median: 160
GPA Median: 3.6
Multiple LSAT scores: Higher score accepted
Application Deadlines: 02/01 (Regular)
Application fee: $0
Entering class size: 160
Yearly Tuition: $54,200
Bar passage rate: 70%
Percent of graduates employed 9 months after graduation: 92%
Median private sector starting salary: $100,000 (Class of 2007, 55% reporting)