Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

May 05, 2014
First Southwestern Student Completes Public Policy Certificate Through RAND Partnership

Rebecca Ann Simon, who will graduate from Southwestern this month, became the first student from the law school to earn a Certificate in Public Policy through the Southwestern/Pardee RAND Graduate School (PRGS) partnership. A special reception to mark the occasion was held on April 21 at the RAND campus in Santa Monica.

Group photo at the Certificate reception
(from left) Associate Dean Molly Selvin; Dean Susan Prager; Ms. Simon; PRGS Dean Susan Marquis; and Stefanie Stern, PRGS's Director of Admissions and Academic Services

"Southwestern's partnership with PRGS provides a tremendous opportunity for our students to augment their legal studies with additional tools that will better position them for leadership roles in a variety of key policy settings," Southwestern Dean Susan Prager said. "It was wonderful to celebrate this milestone with Rebecca as our first certificate graduate."

Simon has been involved in public service since her undergraduate days at U.C. Berkeley, where she earned her bachelor's degree in Political Science and English. During her first semester at Southwestern, Simon had attended a lunch presentation given by Southwestern Associate Dean Molly Selvin who discussed the new PRGS certificate program, and she was intrigued.

"The caliber of the professors at RAND is world class," Simon said. "This Certificate Program offers the perfect curriculum for someone like me who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the important connection between law and public policy. This program is truly cutting edge."

Dean Susan Marquis of PRGS said, "We're excited to recognize our first recipient of our Certificate in Public Policy. Rebecca demonstrates the power of the partnership between the Pardee RAND Graduate School and Southwestern Law School: bringing together the talented students from each school to learn the fundamentals of law and policy analysis from courses and each other. With our joint certificate programs, we are taking one more step in training tomorrow's public policy leaders."

Prior to attending Southwestern, Simon served as Program Director at the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation, as a Campaign Manager for an L.A. City Council candidate, and as a strategist for a well-known media personality.

Simon is currently an Executive Committee member of the National Women's Political Caucus, Los Angeles Westside chapter, and has served on their Board for eight years. She is also one of the youngest members elected to the Pacific Council on International Policy, a non-partisan international affairs organization, headquartered in Los Angeles and focusing on policy issues of special resonance to the West Coast.

Simon has been pursuing her J.D. through the Part-time Legal Education Alternative at Southwestern (PLEAS). She has served as a Dean's Fellow for three years and became the law school's first Supervising Executive Dean's Fellow. She has worked for three years with Professor Natalie Rodriguez in the Academic Affairs and Bar Related Programs Office, where she taught 1L FYASP and SCALE sessions. She was also a research assistant for Professor Robert Pugsley and a TA to Professor John Heilman. Simon has received a CALI Excellence for the Future Award, the Exceptional Academic Achievement Award and a Dean's Merit Scholarship from Southwestern. In addition, Simon was accepted at the Ducker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University - another partner institution of Southwestern - to receive a Certificate in Leadership. Simon will finish up that program after the bar exam in July 2014.

Although the courses at PRGS were rigorous and demanding, Simon says she thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration with the Ph.D. students and policy analysts. Course content included: principles of client-oriented policy analysis, organizational culture of government institutions, cost benefit and cost effectiveness analysis, performance measurement, macroeconomic fundamentals and scientific methods data analysis.

While Simon dreams of using her law and policy background to open a political consulting firm in Los Angeles, she knows that she will need to consider the opportunities that become available to her after she graduates in May. But these programs have made her confident. "Southwestern, RAND and Drucker were all exactly where I needed to be, so I believe I will ultimately wind up in the right place."

Read more about Ms. Simon in her Student Profile.