Career Profiles

Rebecca Lipa ‘17

Law Clerk, Attorney General’s Office: Criminal Law - Financial Fraud and Special Prosecutions Section (Los Angeles, CA)

Rebecca Lipa ‘17

What did you do there?
As a Law Clerk, I assisted Senior Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Edward Skelly, a Whittier Law School alum. I worked mostly on mortgage fraud and security investment cases. DAG Skelly assigned projects of differing time commitments where I conducted research and assisted on trials and hearings. On one occasion, I accompanied him to court to observe preliminary hearings. I drafted briefs on research and articles on trial skills or legal issues I reviewed. I had the opportunity to draft a preliminary motion, which was to be submitted following the summer, as well as another three or four motions and briefs on different issues. I also attended the AG’s internship program meetings throughout the summer. Lunch usually consisted of presentations from different departments within the AG’s office and the court system. It was interesting to learn more about different government agencies and the processes of the AG’s interaction with the court system.

What excited you most about your externship?
My background is in banking and lending, so my interest fell right in line with this experience. One of my long-term projects required me to provide summaries of trial transcripts. Because of my prior experience, I had really good insight and was able to summarize the information quicker and relay it in lay language to interested parties. I liked that I was representing “the people.” I felt that I was directly helping people and directly affecting their lives. I also had the opportunity to attend oral arguments at the California Supreme Court and to take a tour of the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s (Coroner) Office.

How did you learn about this position?
The Career Development Office and the Symplicity Job Board. Ms. Dickman personally advised me of the position. She helped me revise my cover letter and resume and, because she knew me so well, she reached out to alert me to this opportunity on Symplicity. I received a call from the DAG right after applying and was offered the position

How did your education and experience at Whittier Law prepare you for the externship?
Whittier has helped me fine-tune my awareness of professionalism skills and reputation. I knew I was representing Whittier and I felt I had the tools to maintain that strong professional reputation. Also, my writing skills, honed by Professor Mertus, helped me feel confident in my work product.

What advice would you have for other students seeking an opportunity with the Attorney General’s Office?
If they want to intern with the AG’s office, they need to send in their applications as early as possible because it is very competitive. Two DAGs are WLS graduates and they seek our students. Our reputation is strong. Be proud that you are from Whittier. They are, and you should be, too.