Greater Boston Legal Services

Employment Law Unit
Boston, MA

This is the 2024 description for this mentor organization. This position has been filled.

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 provides free legal representation to individual low-wage 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 workers. Our advocacy and direct representation focus on clients and issues that will advance racial justice and immigrant rights. 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 eight attorneys and two paralegals. The Unit typically hires 4-5 law students during the summer, and GBLS as a whole hires approximately 60 summer students, so plenty of peer support is available. The Unit and GBLS offer extensive training in many areas of employment law as well as other areas of legal services advocacy (benefits, immigration law, etc.).

The Fellow will do legal research and writing and direct representation of clients in cases involving denial of unemployment benefits, wage theft, family and medical leave violations, labor-related immigration cases (U and T visas and deferred action for survivors of labor-related crimes and labor trafficking), and workplace health and safety. Among other opportunities, the Fellow will have a chance to represent one or more clients in an unemployment benefits appeal hearing, which provides a “mini-trial” experience, including client preparation, legal and factual analysis, and direct and cross examination.

The student also will have an opportunity to assist with in-person 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 may have an opportunity to work on larger group or class action cases in the Unit, as well as to do research and advocacy to support the Unit’s systemic policy advocacy work, advocating for broader workers’ rights changes through legislative and administrative advocacy.

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 low-wage and immigrant workers. Fluency in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Cantonese or Mandarin, and Vietnamese is helpful but not required.

Students will receive $7,000 for the 10-week fellowship.

Address cover letter to:

Audrey Richardson, Employment Law Unit
Greater Boston Legal Services
197 Friend Street
Boston, MA 02114