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School of Law Announces Funding for Parris Professionalism Institute

By Nate Ethell ('08, MBA '13)

Parris Professionalism Institute

Carrol and Rex Parris

The School of Law has announced a $1 million gift from Pepperdine parents and legal professionals Carrol and Rex Parris to form the Parris Professionalism Institute. The new initiative, shared this spring by School of Law dean Deanell Reece Tacha at the 41st annual School of Law dinner, will be wholly dedicated to the professional development of first-year students, creating a hub of programming that equips law students with practiceready leadership skills and training while offering a pragmatic perspective of today's legal environment.

The Parris Professionalism Institute will have three major components including: 1) a one-week introduction to professionalism course for new students focusing on fundamentals of legal reading, reasoning, writing, and ethics; 2) the Professional Formation Series, which consists of four interactive events through the year that complement the professionalism course for first-year students; and 3) the Pepperdine Awards Program, which will celebrate the accomplishments of students who best exhibit professionalism. Outstanding students will receive "Parris Awards" in recognition of their contributions to professional formation in the law school community. The "Pepperdine Award" will be given to a third-year student who best embodies the values of the School of Law.

The institute will also support the law school's acclaimed first-year preceptor program, which connects every new law student with a local attorney or judge who mentors and provides practical legal experiences outside of the traditional classroom. Pepperdine is among just a handful of law schools to offer a program of this type, and funds from the Parrises will expand its offerings to provide further professional interaction and opportunities for students.

"We couldn't be more thrilled with Rex and Carrol's vision for expanded professional formation opportunities at the School of Law," said Dean Tacha. "The landscape of legal education is rapidly changing, and the skills we teach our students must change with it. By staging a robust professional development program whose offerings are unlike any of our peer universities, our students will be highly competitive in the legal marketplace and ready to thrive in their new careers."

Rex and Carrol Parris are the cofounders of the R. Rex Parris Law Firm, representing clients in a range of legal claims, including personal injury, class action, and auto accidents. A native of Lancaster, California, Rex has served as the city's mayor since 2008. Carrol is the firm's administrator and a Seaver College Board of Visitors member. Daughter Ashley ('01, JD '05) and son Khail ('12) are graduates of Seaver College. Ashley is also an alumna of the School of Law, where Khail and their brother Rutger are current students.


For more information about the Parris Professionalism Institute or to make a gift, please contact Stephanie Buckley at 310.506.4082 or