Staff Attorney, Work Quality

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) seeks a dynamic and experienced Staff Attorney to join our Work Quality team to advance NELP’s long-term goal to raise job standards, enforce hard-won workers’ rights, and support racial equity. We are seeking someone with a minimum of 3 years’ experience.

Who We Are

NELP is a national non-profit with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Berkeley, promoting federal, state, and local policies designed to ensure that all workers—particularly people of color, women, and the unemployed—can achieve and sustain economic opportunity and security through their labor. These include policies to raise wages, build worker power, enforce worker rights, and improve benefits and services for unemployed workers.  NELP believes that we will achieve our mission only when we have dismantled structural racism, addressed income inequality, and built worker power. In collaboration with national and grassroots partners, NELP advances its work through research, advocacy, litigation support, and technical assistance designed to raise wages, end wage theft and workplace violations, ensure safe and healthy workplaces, strengthen unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation, secure employer accountability, expand employment of people with arrest and conviction records, and promote a comprehensive policy framework to build a good jobs economy. For more information, see

As advocates for workers’ rights, including the right to organize and bargain over working conditions, non-management staff at NELP are members of Local 2320, UAW.

What You Will Do

You will report to the Work Quality Director and work in conjunction with NELP’s staff of lawyers, policy experts, and strategic communications staff in the Work Quality team.  The Work Quality team partners with grassroots organizing groups and reformers to test new models and promote policies in the states and cities that will respond to the pressing issues of the U.S. labor market, laying the foundation for federal reform. Your work will include supporting the following:

  • Developing new strategies to improve enforcement of basic workplace rights and core labor standards to combat the rise in workers who are not paid the minimum wage or overtime, endure unsafe workplaces, or face retaliation when trying to organize or assert their basic rights;
  • Developing policies and providing campaign support to raise labor standards at the federal, state, and local levels, with a particular focus on supporting ongoing worker campaigns for $15 an hour and the right to organize;
  • Fighting back against rollbacks of core labor and employment rights at the federal, state, and local levels, and eliminating loopholes that exclude immigrants, people of color, and contingent and temporary workers from core workplace protections; and
  • Deepening our racial equity framework and approaches, through cross-team participation, analysis of policies, and partnerships with state and local partners.

You will be based in NELP’s New York City or Washington D.C. office and will be responsible for the following:

  • Leading local and state advocacy in key policy priority areas, as described above in the Work Quality portfolio, by engaging key constituencies, allied organizations, and policymakers.
  • Providing legal, policy, and strategic support for campaigns across the country, including drafting model legislation, policy briefs, and legal analyses.
  • Drafting amicus briefs and supporting strategic litigation related to Work Quality issues.
  • Representing NELP in advocacy coalitions, public forums, legislative and agency hearings, and in the media.
  • Drafting reports, op-eds, blogs, and educational materials, and engaging in strategic communications.
  • Supporting NELP’s racial equity work and campaigns with key constituencies, allied organizations, and policymakers.
  • Supporting a workplace culture where all team members grow and develop professionally.
  • Actively contributing to NELP’s work in becoming an anti-racist organization that reflects and embodies internally the values of social justice, diversity, and inclusion.

Who You Are

  • You have advocacy experience promoting labor and employment rights, civil rights and racial justice, or other economic justice issues. Your experience in labor law, employment law and/or organizing is especially welcome.
  • You have real interest in and commitment to developing expertise in racial equity and the work quality issues described above.
  • You have a J.D., with a minimum of three years of related legal experience preferred. You must be admitted to the D.C. or New York bar or willing to sit for admission to one of these bars.
  • You have excellent written and oral communication skills (Spanish-language fluency a plus).
  • You have demonstrated commitment to economic and racial justice.
  • You are a strategic and clear-headed thinker and doer who is comfortable managing multiple projects simultaneously.
Start Date, Location, Compensation & Benefits: This position will be based in New York City or Washington D.C. Start date will be as soon as possible. Salary is competitive within the non-profit sector and commensurate with experience and education based on NELP’s collective bargaining scale. An attorney with three years’ experience would be paid $69,900 under our collective bargaining scale. Excellent benefits package including fully paid family medical care, dental care, additional flexible spending account, generous retirement, and loan repayment assistance program for those who qualify. This position is in NELP’s bargaining unit, represented by National Organization of Legal Service Workers, UAW Local 2320.

To apply: Submit cover letter, resume, and three references via, choosing [“FILL IN STAFF POSITION”] from the “Position” drop-down menu under “Application Information.” If you have questions regarding this announcement, please forward those to, noting “Work Quality Staff Attorney” in the subject line. No phone calls or other email inquiries please. We will consider applications on a rolling basis. Applications due by October 31, 2019.

NELP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and an equal opportunity, fair chance, affirmative action employer, committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce.  All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.  

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