Career Profiles

Bessie Mafud ‘17

Law Clerk, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)

Bessie Mafud ‘17

What did you do for your internship?
I was a law clerk at Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) and I worked in the Unaccompanied Children’s Department. I represented immigrants and refugees 18 years and younger who entered the United States without their parents or other adults. CARECEN’s clients entered the United States to seek asylum and special juvenile status because they were victims of neglect or abuse in their home countries. At CARECEN, I drafted client declarations, conducted interviews, and made court appearances. I also drafted a Motion of Points and Authorities and a Motion to Review for immigrants who had their cases closed because they were fraudulently represented by non-attorneys.

What excited you most about your job?
I was most excited that I had a part in history because my work was under the authority of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) immigration policy. Seeing the effects of DAPA firsthand was exciting. I was most rewarded by the feeling of being a part of someone’s life and helping them seek refuge and flee persecution.

How did you learn of the position?
I applied to be a law clerk for CARECEN through the UCLA Public Interest Career Day (PICD). PICD occurs in February and the Career Development Office here at Whittier facilitates information on applying for interviews.

How did your education and experience at Whittier Law School prepare you for this position?
I wrote a lot. The skills learned in the Lawyering Skills class were very important, especially when I drafted motions. The persuasive writing techniques were particularly useful, because without Lawyering Skills, I would not know how I would have written those motions. Also meeting with the Career Development Office helped me to know what to expect.

Do you have any advice for students seeking employment in this particular industry?
I think it helps if you prepare yourself to hear crazy stories because they can be emotionally draining. But working there and making a difference was worth it all.