Forty years ago today, I graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law, marking the start of my career as a California lawyer. Because it was necessary for me to work full time while attending law school, I took most of my classes in the Pepperdine night school program … when I started in 1971, we attended classes in a small former commercial building on Westminster Avenue in Garden Grove, with each classroom in what had been a small store … while the law school administrative office and law library were located in a former office building across the street from the classrooms.
Night school meant taking a somewhat smaller class load each semester … but also taking four years to graduate, rather than the three years that full-time attendance required.
The summer before my third year, the law school moved to Anaheim, occupying what had been the Buzza-Cardoza warehouse and manufacturing facility … this was a definite improvement, but I graduated in May before the law school opened its new … and beautiful … campus on a hillside above Malibu. In part because I was the President of the Student Bar Association during my third year (1973-74) … … I was fortunate to have had a close working relationship with the Dean of the law school, Charles F. Phillips. I also had several excellent professors, including James McGoldrick … about whom I wrote here …
… Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Vincent Dalsimer … and the District Attorney of Orange County, Cecil Hicks. Within a few minutes of the start of my first class in criminal law, I knew that I wanted to practice criminal law … and to work for Cecil as a deputy district attorney … a desire I was able to fulfill shortly after learning the following December that I had passed the California bar exam.
Despite working full time … and being active in the student bar association and the law school’s moot court competition … I managed to maintain a spot on the Dean’s Honor Roll …
… to graduate cum laude (#3 in my class) … and to win five American Jurisprudence Awards for standing first in my class in the subjects of contracts, torts, constitutional law, conflict of laws and labor law. Although my team finished 2nd in the 1975 Pepperdine Moot Court Competition, I received the Vincent J. Dalsimer Award as the Top Advocate in the competition … and was added to the Pepperdine team which competed in the 1975 Roger J. Traynor State Moot Court Competition.
My law school experience was, in some ways, very difficult, as it meant long hours and little free time, not even on weekends … but it was also an incredibly rewarding four years, during which I received a solid foundation for the profession I have practiced ever since.
Three Dot … 106