Summer Legal Internships

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) seeks law students for our summer legal internship program in 2022 in New York City, Washington DC, and Berkeley, CA.


Who We Are  

Founded in 1969, the nonprofit National Employment Law Project (NELP) is a leading advocacy organization with the mission to build a just and inclusive economy where all workers have expansive rights and thrive in good jobs. Together with local, state, and national partners, NELP advances its mission through transformative legal and policy solutions, research, capacity building, and communications. Our victories over the last decade have impacted the lives of an estimated 100 million workers and their families. We lead and collaborate in fights for higher pay and just benefits, secure and safe jobs, and support at each stage in a worker’s life. We build worker power and we challenge rules that allow corporate harm and undue power. We are transforming precarious work by raising the floor so that every job is a good job and everyone who wants a job can have one. Together over the next decade, we will build Black, immigrant worker power and advance transformative solutions to achieve racial and economic justice. For more information, read our annual reports and explore our website:   

NELP has a team of 45 staff people based across offices in New York City, Washington D.C., and Berkeley, CA, with a 12-person Board of Directors, an annual budget of $14M, and hundreds of partners in the field with whom we work to further our mission.  


What You Will Do 

You will work with a staff of lawyers, researchers, policy analysts, and communication strategists and will be supervised by an attorney. Our work includes: 

  • Developing new strategies to improve and ensure enforcement of basic workplace rights in order to combat the growing number of immigrant workers who are not paid the minimum wage or overtime, who endure unsafe workplaces, and who face retaliation when trying to organize; 
  • Researching and developing policies to address the rise of outsourcing, the “gig economy,” and contingent work structures (“the fissured economy”) to ensure fair wages and job quality; 
  • 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 unionize; fighting back against rollbacks at the federal level; and eliminating loopholes and waiver of rights that exclude immigrants, people of color, and contingent and temporary workers from core minimum wage protections;  
  • Supporting allies and developing policies seeking to broaden and modernize state and federal unemployment insurance programs, to ensure coverage that centers the needs of Black and immigrant communities; and 
  • Developing and researching strategies alongside movement partners that address the criminal legal system as an engine of occupational segregation, including criminal records and hiring, the criminalization of workers, criminal legal debt, and court surveillance programs. 

Summer legal interns will assist NELP attorneys in all aspects of this work, which may include: 

  • Providing legal, policy, and strategic assistance for campaigns, including drafting legislation, legal research and analyses, and policy briefs; 
  • Strategic participation in litigation related to wage and hour and other labor standards issues, including drafting amicus briefs and preparing legal research memos; 
  • Drafting reports, op-eds, and community educational materials and engaging in strategic communications. 

Who You Are  

  • You are a law student who is able to be physically present in one of the NELP offices; although remote work may be required instead due to COVID-19. 
  • You are committed to building your racial equity competencies; and you are continuously learning, reflecting, and growing. 
  • You are self-aware, curious, and respectful with strong interpersonal skills fostering a sense of purpose and community and have high standards for holding yourself and others accountable.  
  • You operate with a commitment to excellence, integrity, diplomacy, and camaraderie.  


Start Date and Compensation: The start date will be in the summer of 2022. NELP requires internship candidates to seek funding from their school or other programs and will work with you to secure supplemental funding if needed. Students who are unable to secure funding through their law schools or other programs should contact NELP’s Cathy Ruckelshaus,, for further information about the funding options. NELP does not permit unpaid internships. NELP encourages all students to apply to the  Peggy Browning Fund, which offers valuable resources and summer funding to law students interested in workers’ rights. 


To apply: Through our online database, submit a cover letter and resume (if possible, in one PDF document). No phone calls or other email inquiries please. We will consider applications on a rolling basis. Applications due by January 14, 2022.   


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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