Northwest Workers' Justice Project

Portland, Oregon

This is the 2021 fellowship description for this mentor organization.

The Northwest Workers’ Justice Project exists to support the efforts of low wage, immigrant and contingent workers to protect workplace dignity and to improve their wages and working conditions. We offer high-quality, direct legal assistance to workers and their organizations; support organizing efforts; educate workers, their leaders and the public about workplace rights; advocate for better employment laws; and promote greater access to low-cost employment legal assistance. Our areas of legal focus include: minimum wage and wage payment problems; unsafe or unhealthy work conditions; employment discrimination; protection of workers' right to engage in protected concerted activity; and retaliation for exercising legal rights.

At NWJP, we see each fellow as a potential future advocate for low-wage workers. We strive to give them the tools and understanding of employment law to begin to be capable of practicing in this area when they graduate. It is simply fundamental to our work in increasing access to justice for low-wage workers that we do our part to train and mentor new generations of law students. By the same token, we also learn from the students with whom we work. We gain new insight and perspectives and get a fresh take on our work. Students expand our resources, which expands our capacity to serve. Depending on the student's capacity and the complexity of the cases assigned, they might expect to work on 10-25 cases. Between 15 and 100 workers might receive benefits from the student's work.

Fellows with NWJP will be given given the same types of assignments that lawyers are given, within relevant ethical boundaries. They interview clients, research claims, review records to calculate damages, prepare pleadings, draft briefs, prepare and respond to discovery, help prepare for and observe court hearings and trials, and discuss litigation strategy. Legal research and writing issues may include: wage and hour law, employment discrimination, civic procedure, contracts, class actions, labor law and family and medical leave law. Depending on the current projects at NWJP and the fellow's interests, they may have exposure to public advocacy, outreach, and client education. Students with strong written and spoken Spanish language skills are encouraged to apply.

The Fellow will have opportunities to participate in monthly low-wage worker advocate trainings and webinars, participate in case reviews where attorneys discuss legal strategy, attend meetings of immigrant rights and other community groups, work with outside private and public interest attorneys, and engage in organized social events.

In ordinary years, our Fellow works in person at NWJP's office in downtown Portland. Currently, it is very likely the Fellow will work remotely, at least part of the time, due to the pandemic.

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

Please address cover letter to:

Lizeth Marin
Staff Attorney
Northwest Workers' Justice Project
812 SW Washington, Suite 225
Portland, OR 97205