Winter Legal Externship

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) seeks a law student for a part-time externship (8-16 hrs/wk) for academic credit. The law student will work remotely with a particular focus unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. This is an opportunity to leverage your talent to support our efforts to ensure underpaid workers of color and their families receive critically needed UI benefits in this moment of crisis and beyond.


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 remotely with the social insurance team and will be supervised by an attorney—senior counsel, Steve Gray.  Knowledge of UI is preferred; and the commitment and excitement to expand your UI expertise is critical. The social insurance team works in partnership with local, state, and national partners to strengthen economic security for unemployed workers by advocating for: 

  • Robust federal standards to ensure equity across state UI programs;   
  • Expanding UI coverage in states to unemployed workers of color that have been traditionally excluded;  
  • Greater UI data transparency and access to demographic data on all aspects of a UI claim; 
  • Greater federal investment in technology that improves benefit access; and 
  • Providing income support to all workers regardless of how they are paid or what industry they work in through a more robust state-federal system. 


You work may include the following depending on need: 

  • Providing legal, policy, and strategic assistance for state and federal policy campaigns, including drafting legislation, legal research and analyses, and policy briefs; 
  • Strategic participation in litigation as well as state and federal administrative advocacy, including drafting amicus briefs, preparing legal research memos, and developing comments on regulatory proposals; and 
  • Drafting reports, op-eds, and community educational materials. 


Who You Are  

  • You are a law student who is able to receive academic credit and work remotely for 8-16 hrs/wk (based on your preference).   
  • You have knowledge of unemployment insurance benefits programs. 
  • 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, Location: In response to the pandemic, all staff are currently working remotely; you will also be working remotely. The preferred start date is in January 2022.  


To apply: Through our online database at, submit a cover letter and resume. Candidates should state clearly in their cover letter their hours/credits preference for this externship and describe their UI experience. If you have questions regarding this announcement, please forward those to, noting “Winter 2022 Externship” in the subject line. No phone calls or other email inquiries please. We will consider applications on a rolling basis. Applications due by December 1, 2021.   


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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