Loyola's Celebrating Public Service Event Draws Tales of Inspiration from a Range of Civic Leaders

Celebrating Public Service
From left: Dean Michael Waterstone; Hon. Patty Schnegg '77; U.S. Rep Ted Lieu; Prof. Michael Genovese, president, LMU Global Policy Institute; Prof. Jessica Levinson, LPSI director.

A unique, interdisciplinary gathering of government officials, judiciary members and private law practitioners gathered to expound the inspiring aspects of public service. “Celebrating Public Service,” a conference designed to motivate the next generation of public service leaders, included a keynote address by U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu and was co-hosted by the Loyola Public Service Institute (LPSI) at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and Loyola Marymount University’s Global Policy Institute.

“We were thrilled to bring an illustrious group of speakers to Loyola Marymount University and Loyola Law School,” said Professor Jessica A. Levinson ’05 (LMU ’02), founding director of the LPSI who organized the event in concert with Professor Michael Genovese, president of the Global Policy Institute at LMU. “We hope this two-day conference helped our students, graduates and others learn from and interact with professionals who have served in all levels of government. Our goal is to help current students and professionals become leaders in government service.”

Held on the campuses of LMU and LLS on Feb. 21-22, 2019, the event focused on the impact that public service can have on local communities and beyond, with a special emphasis on inspiring future leaders to follow suit. During the event, the LPSI presented Lieu and L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin ’94 with awards for their service. At LMU, the keynote address featured Michael Zeldin, CNN legal analyst and former assistant to Robert Mueller, U.S. Department of Justice.

“I believe I can never give back to America as much as everything this amazing country has given to me,” Lieu said. In introducing Lieu as “a legislative rock star,” Levinson noted, “He is truly dedicated to public service and truly cares about the next generation of lawyers and government workers. His generation to service is incredibly rare.”

For his part, alumnus Galperin ratified the philosophy embodied in the event’s name. “I think it is a really interesting title that has been chosen for this program,” he said. “It is not just about examining public service, or about studying it, exploring, or pursuing it, or sometimes perhaps, critiquing it, but it is also about celebrating it. Because when done right, it is something to celebrate.”

In that vein, Loyola students, professors, alumni and guests heard from Ben Allen, California state senator; Laura Brill, former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and founder/director, The Civics Center; Lane Dilg, Santa Monica city attorney; Galperin; Hon. Rupa S. Goswami, Los Angeles Superior Court and former federal prosecutor; Fernando Guerra, professor of political science and Chicana/o Latina/o Studies and director of the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles, LMU; David Katz, former assistant U.S. Attorney and clerk to U.S. District Judge John Garrett Penn, Washington, D.C.; Lieu; Paul Rosen, partner at Crowell Moring and former chief of staff, Department of Homeland Security; Kevin Sloat, lobbyist and former executive branch legislative secretary and legislative chief of staff to Gov. Pete Wilson.

Other speakers shared Lieu’s sentiment on public service. “I think it is ultimately about a deep sense of duty and commitment to the broader public, to society,” said Allen during the panel “The Lawyer as Public Servant.” “I think it is about trying to come up with independent solutions to big problems, it’s about trying to put all of your skills at work. One of the wonderful things about public service is that it really does bring together everything, all the analytical things you learn in law school with aspects of personality and people skills.”

The event was made possible through the support of alumna Hon. Patty Schnegg ’77 and William Oppenheim, the LPSI will continue to engage students, alumni, professors and public leaders in a dialogue designed to build and sustain interest in public service.