Low-Wage Worker Externship
Karen Cacace and Young Lee, Lecturers-in-Law (2 graded academic credits and 3 ungraded fieldwork credits)
The Low-Wage Worker Externship at The Legal Aid Society is an intensive introduction to employment law issues faced by low-income workers in New York City. The substantive laws covered will include minimum wage and overtime laws, anti-discrimination laws, including criminal records discrimination, and family and medical leave laws. The externship is taught by practicing attorneys at The Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Unit and is designed to introduce students to the frequent employment law violations experienced by low-wage workers and to develop students’ litigation skills through a combination of discussion, simulation and hands-on representation of clients with employment claims. The students will assist attorneys in the Employment Law Unit in representing clients in federal and state court and before administrative agencies, including the New York State Department of Labor, the Equal Opportunity Commission and the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
In the fieldwork placement, students will devote 15 hours per week working with attorneys in the Employment Law Unit at The Legal Aid Society. This will be a clinical, hands-on experience providing students with the opportunity to interview clients and research potential claims for their clients. If students continue the fieldwork in the Spring Semester, they may also draft charges of discrimination or wage theft to be filed at an administrative agency, complaints to be filed in state or federal court, discovery requests, discovery responses and pre-trial motions, interview witnesses, prepare clients for depositions, draft mediation statements and participate in settlement discussions. Students will develop their client interviewing and litigation skills, an understanding of the substantive employment law violations frequently experienced by low-wage workers and be exposed to practical issues confronting low-wages workers.
Each week in the seminar portion of the course we will explore either a substantive area of employment law or a litigation skill. The seminars will be primarily focused on class discussions about the specific seminar topic. The seminars will also include individual practical exercises, including client interviewing, drafting a complaint and presenting a case at a mock initial conference. Students will be required to submit a 10 page paper evaluating their experience in the externship.
The course is graded on participation and attendance in the seminar, performance in the mock exercises and the final paper. Performance in the field placement may affect the course grade as a plus or minus.
Enrollment is open to 2Ls, 3Ls and LLMs. Foreign language skills, especially Spanish, are useful.
To apply, please complete the Common Application when it is released. Please watch for informational sessions. Any additional questions can be sent to Susan Kraham at [email protected].
Prospective applicants may be contacted for an interview once all applications have been submitted.