Greater Boston Legal Services

Employment Law & Asian Outreach Unit
Boston, MA

This is the 2020 description for this mentor organization.

Greater Boston Legal Services, New England's oldest nonprofit legal services organization, is dedicated to helping low-wage workers in the Greater Boston area to fight exploitation and abuse in the workplace. The Employment Law Unit (EU) provides free legal representation to individual workers (with a focus on low-wage immigrant workers), does community-based outreach and legal education, and represents grassroots community-based organizations in systemic policy campaigns to improve wages, job opportunities, job security and benefits for low-income working families. Most staff are members of UAW Local 2320, the National Organization of Legal Services Workers. They work closely with the Massachusetts labor movement, often joining forces with the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and individual unions to advocate for low-wage workers' rights before the state legislature and administrative agencies.

The Peggy Browning Fellow would work with six attorneys and one paralegal. The Unit attempts to hire at least five law students during the summer and GBLS as a whole hires approximately 60 summer students so there is plenty of peer support available. The Fellow would do legal research and writing and do direct representation of clients in cases involving denial of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, nonpayment of wages (including minimum wage and overtime claims), family and medical leave violations, tax controversies, other problems with working conditions and the exercise of employment-related rights.

The unit offers extensive training in all areas of employment law. All Unit students participate in a special UI project handling intakes on a rotating basis for individuals seeking representation in their claims for unemployment insurance. This provides the foundation for representing clients in UI.

In addition to handling UI hearings and appeals, depending on the particular student's language capacity, he or she would also assist with the intake and outreach in some of the Boston area's low-income immigrant communities serving the Latino, Haitian, Brazilian, Chinese and Vietnamese communities. In addition, the student would have an opportunity to work on larger cases in the unit including a pending class action and larger wage and hour cases. Additionally, students will have exposure to implementation work on one or more EU recent successful policy campaigns which include a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, improvements to the Unemployment Insurance System, a Parental Leave Law, a law passed by ballot initiative securing earned sick time for all Massachusetts workers, and increases to the Earned Income Credit. Upcoming campaigns include securing Paid Family and Medical Leave, improving access to the Workers Compensation system for non-English speaking injured workers, and additional improvements to the Unemployment Insurance system for workers needing training and workers in temporary jobs.  Students can also work on tax controversies.

This position is open to students at all levels but priority will be given to students with a demonstrated interest in or background with plaintiff-side employment law, union-side labor law, or advocacy on behalf of immigrant workers. Fluency in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Cantonese or Mandarin, and Vietnamese is strongly preferred but not required and all students who have strong community ties are encouraged to apply.

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

Address cover letter to:

Brian Flynn, Senior Attorney
Greater Boston Legal Services, 9th Floor
197 Friend Street
Boston, MA 02114

ATTN: Peggy Browning Fellowship