NELP Mourns the Passing of Jim Leonard

One of our nation’s preeminent experts on the Fair Labor Standards Act, Jim was driven by a deep and unassailable commitment to fighting for the rights of all workers.

Jim spent 22 years in the Office of the Solicitor at the U.S. Department of Labor, enforcing the laws that ensure the proper payment of wages to hourly workers. On the strength of his intellect, quality of his work, and passion with which he pursued justice for this nation’s workers, Jim rose to the positions of deputy associate solicitor for fair labor standards and associate regional solicitor in the Arlington, Virginia office.

Even retirement didn’t slow his advocacy. Jim spent a decade volunteering his services on behalf of exploited workers through organizations such as NELP, Farmworker Justice, the Child Labor Coalition, the AFL-CIO, and Human Rights Watch.

NELP’s general counsel, Cathy Ruckelshaus, who worked closely with Jim over the many years of his career, had this to say about him: “I loved his periodic posts to our Wage & Hour listserv that chronicled vast case citations and unearthed decades of DOL practice to inform and respond to queries. I will miss his warmth and thoughtfulness. He talked about his wife Joan, his kids, and grandkids all the time. What a lovely life.”

Jim spent a lifetime making a difference for people who never knew him, but needed the expert services of someone with his intellect and heart. We at NELP are going to miss him terribly, and we are honored and grateful to have known and worked with Jim during his exemplary life.


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