News and Events
School of Law Celebrated 2007 Graduation
The Pepperdine School of Law celebrated its 2007 graduation on May 18 in Alumni Park. The Honorable Johnnie Blakeney Rawlinson, who sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, gave the commencement speech. Distinguished Alumna Katherine K. Freberg was honored.
Honorable Johnnie B. Rawlinson
Johnnie B. Rawlinson sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Nominated by President Bill Clinton, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Rawlinson on July 21, 2000, who subsequently took the oath of office on July 26, 2000, becoming the first African American woman to sit on the Ninth Circuit. Judge Rawlinson maintains chambers in Las Vegas, Nevada, and hears appeals on matters arising from district courts of the Ninth Circuit which includes nine western states and Guam.
Prior to this prestigious appointment, Judge Rawlinson served as a United States district judge, having been nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate in 1997. Before ascending to the bench, she had served as deputy district attorney and chief deputy for over 17 years in the office of the Clark County District Attorney. She had risen to the position of assistant district attorney supervising the civil, family support, and administrative divisions.
Judge Rawlinson is active within the legal community as a member of the Just the Beginning Foundation, the Federal Judges Association, the American Judicature Society, the National Bar Association, and the state bar associations in California and Nevada.
Judge Rawlinson is widely recognized for her achievements and has received the 1996 Distinguished Service Award—Clark County Pro Bono Project, the Black Women Lawyers of Northern California Recognition Award, the Kappa Alpha Psi Outstanding Community Service Award, the Nevada Attorney General Role Model Award, among many others, as well as perennial mentions in the Who’s Who publications.
Judge Rawlinson earned her bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She graduated with distinction from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific, which named her 2003 Alumna of the Year.
Judge Rawlinson and her husband Dwight reside in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Katherine K. Freberg
Katherine K. Freberg leads the Law Offices of Freberg & Associates located in Irvine, California, which she founded in 1995. Freberg is a celebrated litigation attorney who specializes in advocating on behalf of child sexual abuse victims.
In 1997, representing such a victim, Freberg successfully sued the Roman Catholic Archbishops of Los Angeles and Orange, recovering the largest payment to a single victim of the church, as well as resulting in policy changes at both dioceses that aid and protect victims of abuse. Freberg has sued various perpetrators and institutions including religious orders, Protestant churches and conferences, the YMCA, health care institutions, and private schools. To date, her firm has recovered $86 million for clients who suffered sexual abuse as minors.
After graduating from law school in 1990, Freberg joined the firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Dallas, Texas. In 1992, she then moved to the firm headed by School of Law Board of Visitors member and alumnus Terry M. Giles, where she worked to secure a $12 million judgment against Sunoco to repair defective homes sold to retirees.
Freberg has been highly praised and recognized for her skill and advocacy and was named of one of the top seven finalists for Trial Lawyer of the Year by Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. She was also named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California in 2003, and one of the Top 40 Female Lawyers in California in 2004 by the Daily Journal.
Freberg received her bachelor’s degree with honors from Texas Tech University. She graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine School of Law in 1990, ranked 10th in a class of 217.
Freberg and her husband Jon A. Gates reside in Lake Forest, California.