School: Law
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November 23, 2019 |

Alumna Uses MPA and JD Degrees to Serve the Public Good

An unexpected path led Bernadette Curry to law school and a successful career in public administration.

By Jenny McKeel

In 1993, Master’s of Public Administration graduate Bernadette Curry was putting her GGU degree to good use, working for SCI Consulting, her father’s public finance consulting firm. When Prop 218 came on the ballot, Bernadette realized the so-called “Right to Vote on Taxes Act” would revolutionize local government finance in California. She would need a law degree to be effective amid the sweeping changes the proposition would introduce to public service. Undeterred by challenges on the horizon, Bernadette headed back to Golden Gate University.

“The convenience Golden Gate offered made all the difference,” she said. “I made the decision to go for the Juris Doctor in October and I started in January. It fit my work schedule and my need to get going quickly.”

A School for Working Professionals

Classes were filled with working professionals who, like Bernadette, had chosen a different path. She was enriched by professors who taught students how to juggle real-world priorities on-the-job and help solve clients’ urgent problems.

“The convenience Golden Gate offered made all the difference.”

In 2001, she was hired by the Solano County Counsel as a deputy. Since then, Bernadette has held just about every position in the Counsel’s office that provides legal advice for County departments, boards, commissions, districts, and other public entities. In June 2019, she was promoted to Solano County Counsel, making Bernadette the first woman to serve as the county’s top legal advisor.

“I’m the youngest of five girls in my family, so to be the first woman (county counsel) . . . it’s so inspiring,” Bernadette told the Daily Republic.

Two Golden Gate Degrees

Bernadette credits both Golden Gate degrees with preparing her for this exciting opportunity.

“The MPA gave me a good foundation in administration, allowing me to transition from deputy to chief counsel. And, law school teaches you to think critically. Together the two degrees provide a powerful set of tools I can bring to every problem I attempt to solve in a public administration setting.”


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