Career Profiles

Sachiyo Miller ‘15

Externship: Law Clerk, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Sachiyo Miller ‘15

What were your responsibilities?
As a Law Clerk at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Los Angeles District Office, Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit, I initially managed the ADR unit’s caseload. I was in charge of contacting the parties, explaining the mediation process, scheduling mediation conferences, and troubleshooting any questions that parties had. At one time, I had to manage over 200 cases in a given week. Later, I had the opportunity to co-mediate charges with seasoned mediators. Mediators appreciated my knowledge in employment law. They said that I asked insightful questions to the parties so that each party would be given a fair opportunity to present their positions.

What excited you most about the job?
I was excited to be able to support their mission of eradicating discrimination in the workplace. It was great to have been part of the federal agency that advocates such an important cause.

Also, people who practice employment law generally stick with one side, be it plaintiff’s side or defense side. At the ADR unit, however, I got a chance to work with both plaintiffs’ attorneys and defense attorneys as part of the mediation process. It was such an eye-opening experience to be able to observe and understand each side’s tactics while they were in mediation. Some of the conversation between the mediator and one party are confidential and the attorneys are interested in mediating rather than litigating, so they were honest with us. Thus, I got to see how attorneys conduct themselves for sometimes different goals.

Lastly, the teamwork espoused by the employees at the EEOC was great. I had an opportunity to work as a committee member for their annual event, Unity Day, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act. I was one of the cast members in a play celebrating Malcolm X. I got to work with people from different units at the EEOC and learned how passionate these people were about advocating civil rights.

How did you find the position?
I found this opportunity through our online job board, Symplicity.

How did your education and experience at Whittier Law School prepare you for this position?
I took Employment Discrimination with Professor Gale before starting my internship with the EEOC. Her class focused on Title VII, which the EEOC enforces, so it was very helpful to be able to understand the rules and then apply them to the cases that I handled.

Do you have any advice for students or alum seeking employment, particularly in your industry?
Joining bar associations and being active in the community are important. Make time to volunteer at events held by various organizations whose missions you would like to support. For example, I am a student member of four employment law related bar associations and several ethnic bar associations and non-profit organizations. The important thing is not to shy away from opportunities, to make important connections, and to meet mentors while contributing to their missions. I believe the relationships I have built with many employment law attorneys were forged through meetings at non-employment law bar associations. I took every volunteer opportunity as if I was having an interview for my dream job. Volunteering is one of the very limited opportunities that you can show to others how committed and diligent of a worker you are. I believe that building a solid reputation in the legal community is critical and one should start building that while in law school.