By: Lee Mestre
Asseret Frausto ’19 is the winner of the Outstanding Clinical Student Award from the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA). The award is presented annually to one student from each law school for outstanding clinical coursework and contributions to the clinical community. Students are nominated by full-time clinical faculty at each law school with faculty who are members of CLEA.
Those who nominated Frausto cited her persistence, thoroughness, and thoughtfulness in making her a truly outstanding clinical student and advocate. In the Family Law and Domestic Violence Clinic and multiple semesters in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC), she earned Honors and Dean’s Scholar prizes in both clinical and coursework. Her nominators from HIRC proudly claim, “Throughout our work with her, Asseret has displayed exceptional creativity, sharp intellect, and unwavering dedication to social justice.”
In the Immigration and Refugee Clinic, she performed exceptionally well and demonstrated herself to be a skilled and extremely conscientious advocate with an unparalleled command of the humanitarian protections she helped her clients apply for. Instead of focusing on just one area of the law, Asseret tackled multiple cases involving a diverse array of legal protections, including asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Torture Convention, and U visas. With all of these cases, she had to contend with learning complicated new material, while at the same time balancing client crises and needs.
According to her nominators, Asseret, a first-generation Mexican-American student who was raised on both sides of the Tijuana-San Diego border and learned English as a second language, excelled at building rapport with asylum seekers and leading client meetings. They said she consistently went above and beyond to make her clients and their families feel comfortable and, as a result, was able to elicit sensitive and critical information central to the development of asylum claims and prepare clients for tough questioning. She worked closely with each client, spending hundreds of hours preparing for immigration court hearings and was, in their estimation, one of the best students HIRC has seen at direct and cross-examination, possessing an excellent ability to appreciate different viewpoints and the capacity to thrive in a variety of different spaces.
Prior to law school, she worked at the tech company Oracle in Silicon Valley. She spent her 1L summer as a Diversity Fellow at White & Case in Los Angeles and at Facebook’s HQ in Menlo Park. She spent her 2L summer at O’Melveny in Los Angeles and in D.C. At HLS, she served as the Co-President of La Alianza, a student attorney with the Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP), a board member of HL Central, and a member of the Women’s Law Association (WLA). Next year Asseret will clerk with Judge Mendez in the Eastern District of California.