News and Events
School of Law Celebrates 2006 Spring Graduation
May 15, 2006 - The Pepperdine School of Law celebrates its 2006 spring graduation on Friday, May 19, at 10:30 a.m. in Alumni Park. The Malibu and Pepperdine communities are invited to attend. The Honorable Wallace B. Jefferson, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas will give the commencement speech, and Distinguished Alumnus Michael J. Bidart will be honored.
About Michael J. Bidart
Michael J. Bidart is a partner with the law firm of Shernoff Bidart & Darras LLP and leads the firm’s HMO Litigation and Property/Casualty Departments. A prominent consumer attorney, Mr. Bidart is one of the country’s top civil litigators specializing in insurance bad faith matters on behalf of policyholders. Mr. Bidart has been profiled in the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, and California Lawyer Magazine where he’s been recognized as one of California’s 100 most influential lawyers. The Wall St. Journal noted that Mr. Bidart’s success in healthcare litigation has reignited the debate in Congress over whether patients should have the right to sue their health plans. A well-known lecturer and keynote speaker on HMO litigation and bad faith insurance practices, Mr. Bidart has successfully litigated hundreds of state and federal court actions, including property, casualty, earthquake, and construction defect. As someone who is passionate about the law, Mr. Bidart is an active member of American Board of Trial Advocates, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, Consumer Attorneys of California and the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles.
The Honorable Wallace Jefferson
Wallace Jefferson is the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. Appointed in 2001 to fill the seat vacated by United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Justice Jefferson made history as the first African American to sit on the Texas Supreme Court bench. He was confirmed to the court by voters in the 2002 election, and was subsequently elevated by Governor Rick Perry to chief justice, becoming the first African American to hold Texas’ highest judicial office.
Before ascending to the bench, Chief Justice Jefferson enjoyed an illustrious career as a specialist in state and federal appellate law practice, first at Groce, Locke & Hebdon in San Antonio, and then cofounding his own firm, Crofts, Callaway & Jefferson, in 1991. He successfully argued two significant cases before the U.S. Supreme Court prior to turning 40, both of which have provided national guidance in the area of civil rights litigation.
Chief Justice Jefferson has been highly honored for his service to the public and to the legal profession. He was president of both the San Antonio Bar Association in 1998 and the William S. Sessions American Inn of Court in 1999. He was named Pillar of the Northside Independent School District, and has been lauded by both the San Antonio Business Journal and the Texas Lawyer. He has served on the Supreme Court of Texas Advisory Committee, the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, and chaired the host committee for the 2000 Fifth Circuit Judicial Conference.
Chief Justice Jefferson earned his bachelor’s degree from James Madison College at Michigan State University in 1985, and his juris doctor in 1988 from the University of Texas School of Law. He has been recognized as a distinguished alumnus at both his alma maters.
Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson resides with his wife, Rhonda, in Austin, Texas.