Philadelphia Legal Assistance

Pennsylvania Farmworker Project
Philadelphia, PA

This is the 2020 fellowship description for this mentor organization.

Philadelphia Legal Assistance is dedicated to enforcing and protecting the rights of individuals and families by providing accessible, creative, high-quality legal assistance and working collaboratively for systemic change. We work with our clients to seek justice through legal systems while empowering them to increase stability, safety, and independence in their own lives.

PLA operates a statewide program, the Pennsylvania Farmworker Project (PFP), which empowers farmworkers to advocate in the workplace and disrupt exploitative employer practices. PFP has a specialized legal practice in employment and immigration law. We provide a wide range of services to farmworkers, including community education, advice, referral, and representation at administrative hearings and in state and federal courts.

This fellowship is an exciting opportunity fora  law student to serve the immigrant worker community. PFP has a full-time staff of one attorney and one paralegal. Our interns participate in all of our casework, including client interviewing, legal research and other case preparation, as well as whatever litigation and administrative casework we have available. Our case numbers increase as our outreach efforts increase.

The Peggy Browning Fellow will work closely with PFP staff on a variety of employment and immigration cases while collaborating with other legal and social service providers to provide more comprehensive services to farmworkers. PFP interns will lead know-your-rights discussions with farmworkers at their homes and at events, visit farmworker housing on their employer’s property, and interview and advise farmworker clients under the PFP attorney’s supervision.

PFP handles a variety of casework to serve our clients’ needs. PFP interns will work on employment matters, such as wage theft, discrimination, workplace health and safety, Unemployment Compensation benefits, Family and Medical Leave Act rights, and farmworker protection laws. PFP also handles immigration cases for farmworkers who have experienced workplace crimes, such as labor trafficking.

Examples of past intern legal writing work include: drafting and designing know-your-rights materials for farm workers, writing memos on a variety of employment law topics, drafting demand letters, drafting a T visa application and affidavit for a survivor of labor trafficking, drafting an Agricultural Worker Protection Act complaint, and collaborating with the PFP attorney on the discovery process in federal litigation.

PFP is a member of the Eastern PA Chapter of the National Employment Law Association and participates in following email lists: Low Wage Worker Legal Network, Farmworker Justice, and National Employment Law Project's Just Pay Community. These groups provide both free employment law webinars and local and national connections to other advocates. PLA and CLS collaboratively offer the intern cohort brown bag lunch educational work shops and networking events throughout the summer. Additionally, we will connect our Peggy Browning Fellow to Philadelphia's robust network of legal aid offices. PLA covers all expenses related to outreach trips (travel, meals, etc.) and other work-related events, such as trainings.

PFP hiring criteria:
1) Fluency in written and spoken Spanish (required);
2) Demonstrated commitment to working with low-wage immigrants;
3) Strong interpersonal skills in person and over the phone;
4) Excellent communication and writing skills, including the ability to present complex concepts in simple, clear language;
5) Self-motivated work ethic;
6) Flexible schedule: able to work some nights and weekends for farmworker outreach;
7) Driver’s license is desired but not necessary.

The total ten-week stipend for this fellowship will be $6,000.

Address cover letter to:

Virginia Halden,
Supervising Attorney, Pennsylvania Farmworker Project
Philadelphia Legal Assistance
718 Arch Street, Suite 300N
Philadelphia, PA 19106