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SKILL SHARPENER

Whittier Law Students Explore All Facets of International Law Through Center and Certificate Program [by Erica Winter] Doing a wide range of work within a chosen field and seeing many sides of an issue is very important, says Rachel Stevens, a second-year law student at Whittier Law School, Costa Mesa, CA. “Only then can you have an educated opinion on what you believe,” she says.

Stevens and third-year student, John Cay-

Violence Against Women Act, however, there

ish judges, such as Justice Breyer. Stevens is

angyang, are currently working towards their

is a provision allowing abuse victims to apply

also helping to publicize Whittier’s study-

certificates in international law at Whit-

for citizenship on their own. Working under

abroad program in Israel and is considering

tier. They have a myriad of opportunities to

the supervision of the group’s staff attorney,

going herself.

develop their educated opinions by availing

Stevens spent the summer helping women

themselves of a wide range of international

apply for citizenship.

John Cayangyang, who has had a lifelong interest in international relations and

programs there, all housed under Whittier’s Center for International and Comparative

Contrast her last summer with this summer,

international law, is a research assistant to

Law (CICL).

and Stevens’s philosophy becomes clear.

Professor Hari Osofsky, Director of the CICL,

While it is not uncommon for law students

and aided her work getting the center up

A relatively new program, Whittier’s inter-

interested in immigration issues to work with

and running. Cayangyang helped Osofsky in

national law certificate is generating a lot

indigent immigrants, it is unusual for that

building up the young center’s programs by

of student interest. Five certificates were

same law student to then go work for those

researching which law firms in the area did

granted to law graduates in 2004, 29 will be

putting stricter limits on immigration.

international law and helping to find speakers for the center’s colloquia.

given in 2005, and so far 22 are planned for graduates in 2006.

This summer, Stevens will go to work for the Department of Homeland Security’s office

Cayangyang gave a presentation recently to

To receive the certificate in international

of Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Whittier’s board of trustees on the CICL’s

law at Whittier, students must take two base

(ICE), Los Angeles. In addition to broadening

progress. “The board is very proud of us,” he

classes (International Law and Comparative

her horizons, working with ICE will give her

says; they see that Whittier’s “students have

Legal Systems), 15 elective credits in the

a clearer picture of what it is like to work for

been able to reap the benefits of the center.”

field, and attend at least 12 colloquia run at

the government, which is one of her career

the CICL. Stevens came to Whittier knowing

goals, she says.

she wanted to pursue international law. “It

“I really love every aspect of international law,” says Cayangyang, including human

was one of the reasons I came here,” she

Still, since Stevens is only in her second year,

rights, international business negotiations,

says. Stevens’ particular area of interest is

things could change; and her work at Whit-

and international peace agreements. He

immigration law. Her work demonstrates

tier has given her several options to choose

has a particular interest in the intercultural

that she practices what she preaches.

from. Currently, Stevens is a junior member

exchange that happens when international

of the Journal of Child and Family Advocacy.

negotiations or talks happen on any topic,

Last summer, Stevens worked at San Pedro

She is working on her paper, required to be

he says. Cayangyang also went to Spain on

Community Legal Services, a small nonprofit

accepted as a full member, she says, incor-

a Whittier law program there; it was “one of

organization that provides services to women

porating international law with child welfare

the best decisions I made in law school,” he

who are being abused. Many of the group’s

issues by examining child trafficking.

says.

Stevens also works as a research assistant

Cayangyang, who says he “likes to get

to Whittier Professor Michael Bazyler, a

involved,” is on Whittier’s moot court honors

One problem the women face is being held

Holocaust specialist. Her research for Pro-

board. He is the student organizer for Whit-

back from applying for citizenship by abusive

fessor Bazyler has covered many topics, she

tier Law’s recent hosting of the Interna-

husbands, explains Stevens. Under the

says, including researching the work of Jew-

tional Law Weekend--West, and is Editor of

clients are Hispanic, and some are not yet citizens.

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SKILL SHARPENER

Whittier’s Law Review Symposia. Last summer Cayangyang clerked for an administrative law judge with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission in San Diego. While there, being able to sit in on dispute resolution hearings was “exhilarating,” he says. Now he is concentrating on passing the California Bar Exam and hopes to find a position at a law firm. Overall, Cayangyang sees great value in Whittier’s international law program, the certificate, and the CICL. The center “has progressed tremendously” in its short lifetime, he says, providing Whittier law students with many opportunities to meet leaders in the field and participate in center programs. And, Cayangyang says, having a certificate in international law from Whittier will “mean a lot to me, as a student and as a person.”

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Whittier Law Students Explore All Facets of International Law Through Center and Certificate Program