B.A., Political Science, 2002, Loyola Marymount University; J.D., 2012, Southwestern Law School; Member, California State Bar
As Assistant Dean of Academic Success and an Associate Professor of Academic Success and Bar Preparation at Southwestern, Natalie Rodriguez has primary responsibility for designing and implementing innovative academic support courses and designing and assisting with bar-exam preparation classes, workshops, and events. "I have seen first-hand the difference a strong Academic Success Office can make in the culture of a school," Dean Rodriguez said.
"One of the best feelings about what I do is when students discover for themselves the power of harnessing how our brain works and learns. Once a student discovers how they learn best, they are on their way to becoming lifelong learners, a skill that will continue to serve them well, even in their professional career as lawyers."
Assistant Dean Rodriguez joined the Southwestern faculty as the Academic Success and Bar-Related Programs Fellow in 2012. Soon after she became the Co-director of Academic Success and Bar-Related Programs and in 2017, she became Assistant Dean of Academic Success.
Dean Rodriguez has designed and taught a number of programs and courses to support students in achieving academic success, both in law school and on the bar exam. Dean Rodriguez is particularly passionate about helping students harness the power of cognitive learning theory to maximize the results from effective study habits. She also believes that the most successful students are those who are able to make the connection between academic and professional competencies early on in their academic journey. Her course design model, which uses a number of cognitive learning principles, has been used by other law schools seeking to create or enhance academic or bar support programs.
Dean Rodriguez has served on the executive board of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS), Academic Support Section and on various committees for the Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE), including AASE’s Bar Advocacy Committee. She has played an active role in many of the recent studies regarding the bar exam including the California State Bar studies as an Advisory Group Member for the “Performance Changes on the California Bar Examination” report as well as the national study “Building a Better Bar: Capturing Minimum Competence” by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS). Her legal practice experience is in Estate Planning and Probate.
Prior to joining Southwestern's faculty, Dean Rodriguez was active in numerous professional activities throughout her legal education. She served as a Judicial Extern to the Hon. Patrick Walsh of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and to the Hon. Frank Y. Jackson of the California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Seven. She was also a Certified Law Clerk/Extern in the Sex Crimes Unit of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and Southwestern's Children's Rights Clinic, and she served as a Research and Teaching Assistant for Dean Austen Parrish and several other professors.
Before attending law school, Dean Rodriguez's background was in early education. She worked for several non-profit groups committed to supporting students from traditionally underrepresented groups experience the positive change a college education can make. Many of these students went on to become first generation college and graduate students. She continues to bring this passion for education as a form of change to legal education.