Friday, April 1, 2022
An essential element of USC Gould School of Law’s success is the supportive community fostered among its students around the world. These strong bonds which tie together the Gould Trojan Family fuel the impact and influence of the school’s programs online and on campus.
Meet Devi Kane Zinzuvadia (MSL 2020), public information officer for the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. In the Q&A below, she shares what inspired her to choose the online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree at USC Gould and how an education in law complemented her interdisciplinary career.
What sparked your interest in learning about law?
|Devi Kane Zinzuvadia (MSL 2020)|
It’s fair to say I’ve always had an interest in the law. When I was an undergraduate at USC, I worked at the law school in the dean’s office. I loved that job, loved being around the professors and students and staff, loved imagining being a law student myself someday. It was an experience that made clear to me that there are so many ways to approach the law and legal study, and so many ways to be of service to the common good.
What made you pursue an MSL degree in particular, and why at USC Gould?
I applied to USC Gould because I was interested in a degree opportunity that served multiple disciplines and career tracks; I also really loved that LLM and MSL students learned side by side, offering a richness and diversity of experience and perspective. By the time I started at USC Gould, I was 20 years into my career; I worked first as a journalist and later in nonprofit management. I found the MSL program to be a great option for a mid-career student, providing a meaningfully holistic grounding in the law, useful across every practice area or industry.
How was the transition into the MSL program, and how did USC assist you?
I felt supported by USC Gould and the awesome team serving MSL students throughout my time at the law school. I knew I could always call on Grace Zamora, Nick Kajimoto, and Prof. Anitha Cadambi with absolutely any question or concern. They and their colleagues are a great team and it’s clear students are their first priority.
What is the most memorable experience or learning from your USC studies?
I love USC and am a proud alumna of both USC Dornsife and USC Gould; I owe a great deal to the university, which has shaped me in so many ways. My MSL professors were wonderful models of how to approach the law and engage students in critical questions. Mona Shah (Legal Ethics) and Patrick Noonan (Human Resource Compliance) especially typified this approach to teaching and learning, and I’m grateful also to Ryan Metheny for the foundational training in Legal Research.
How has your MSL from USC Gould given you an advantage for your future career? What do you want to do next with your degree?
I am the public information officer for the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, a municipal department dedicated to protecting civil rights and equitable access; a huge part of the HRC’s work for the City is the investigation and mediation of civil rights complaints. From both a policy and community engagement perspective, I feel well-positioned to be effective in my work after earning my MSL from USC Gould. Honestly, I think I might have more to do at USC Gould! I’ve been thinking about the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs for some time now, as I’d love to gain some practical mediation and dispute resolution skills.
What advice do you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path to yours?
Give yourself permission to consider a path you did not anticipate; be open to finding a through-line connecting all you do that’s a surprise. I loved journalism, which I know sharpened my investigative skills and instincts, which lent itself well to success as an MSL student. My nonprofit and youth development work has been a reminder that laws are not always equitably applied, and that some communities face different realities when it comes to dealing with disparate treatment. Working in public service links my foundation in the law with practical policy application. I’d also say: keep an open mind as to what success looks like; set goals for yourself throughout your program; read everything you can; and never stop asking questions. Fight On!
The Master of Studies in Law offers early-career and seasoned non-lawyer professionals an unparalleled education to better understand complex legal matters. Learn more about USC’s Online MSL and On-Campus MSL in Los Angeles.