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Rachel Rossi (JD ’09) Honored as National Bar Association Top 40 Under 40 Advocates

Pepperdine Law alumna Rachel Rossi (JD '09) was recently honored as one of the National Bar Association's Top 40 Under 40 Advocates. Ms. Rossi is currently employed as a Counsel with the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary (Majority), assigned to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. She previously practiced in the Central District of California as a Deputy Federal Public Defender, and in Los Angeles County as a Deputy Public Defender. In these roles, Ms. Rossi handled jury trials in federal and county courts and represented clients in a wide range of cases from narcotics trafficking to insider trading.

From 2017-2019, Ms. Rossi was detailed from the Federal Public Defender's Office to the office of Senator Richard J. Durbin, the Democratic Whip. In Senator Durbin's office, Ms. Rossi was the lead staffer on the First Step Act, the major federal criminal justice reform bill signed into law in December 2018. The First Step Act enacted comprehensive sentencing and prison reforms, including the elimination of the federal third-strike mandatory minimum of life imprisonment for a drug offense. It also applied retroactive revisions to unfair and racially disparate drug laws, which has resulted in 1,691 reduced sentences to date.

Ms. Rossi is also a frequent presenter on criminal justice reform and on the First Step Act, including at the Justice Roundtable's Quarterly Assembly, Yale Law School, the International Community Corrections Association's Public Policy Forum, and the Northern District of California District Conference.

Before moving to Washington, D.C., Ms. Rossi was a Board Member of the John M. Langston Bar Association, a National Bar Association affiliate organization. She was also a Board Member of Black Women Lawyers of Los Angeles, and the Latina Lawyer's Bar Association of Los Angeles.

The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 and is the nation's oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American or Black attorneys and judges. It represents the interests of over 65,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students.

The National Bar Association's 40 Under 40 Awards program recognizes the nation's top lawyers under 40 who exemplify a broad range of high achievement, including in innovation, vision, leadership and legal and community involvement. The awardees typically represent a cross-section of legal professionals, including lawyers from big, medium and small firms, solo and industry practitioners, government lawyers, judges, academicians, corporate counsels, elected officials, and various other lawyers, all of whom are using their degrees in innovative and community-impacting ways.