Staff Attorney, Work Structures & Legal Teams

National Employment Law Project
New York
Position Description: 

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) seeks a dynamic and skilled attorney to join our Work Structures team and Legal Department to advance NELP’s programs, legal work, and policy campaigns. NELP envisions an America in which work brings dignity and economic security to all.  NELP’s Work Structures team aims to reverse the trend towards “nonstandard” work as a key driver of eroding labor standards, rising income and wealth inequality, persistent structural racism and occupational segregation and the shifting of power away from workers and toward corporations. NELP’s Legal Department aims to provide national leadership across all of NELP’s program priorities, with a special emphasis on federal rollbacks on workers’ rights at the federal and state levels, combatting coercive waivers of worker rights and access to courts, and organizing the legal community to be strategic in support of worker campaigns to build worker power and combat racism in jobs and access to jobs. Who We AreNELP is a national non-profit with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Berkeley, and Seattle, 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 improve the quality of low-wage jobs, strengthen access to work and mobility within work, create and enforce strong labor standards and rights, and improve benefits and services for the unemployed. 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 and policy 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, bargaining unit staff at NELP are members of Local 2320, UAW. What You Will DoYou will work in conjunction with NELP’s staff of lawyers, policy and program experts, researchers, and strategic communications experts. The Work Structures team and Legal Department partner with lawyers, 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, and protect and promote worker rights nationally in the courts and at the federal level. Your work will include supporting the following: 

  • Developing innovative policies and providing campaign support to raise standards and build worker power for subcontracted workers at the federal, state and local levels, with a particular focus on policies directed towards dismantling structural racism, building worker power, and addressing extreme income inequality; 
  • Deepening our racial equity framework and strategies, as we bolster workers’ rights nationally, and combat the growing practice by employers, particularly in low-wage sectors where people of color are overrepresented, of using complex employment structures and misleading titles like “independent contractors” to push the costs of doing business or business uncertainty onto workers;
  • Increasing the public’s understanding of who and what is driving the trend towards fissuring of work, and what its impact is;
  • Providing state partners with technical assistance and capacity-building support;
  • Fighting back against rollbacks of core labor and employment rights at the federal, state and local levels, in legislatures and in the courts; and eliminating loopholes that exclude immigrants, people of color, and contingent and temporary workers from core protections.

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

  • Supporting NELP’s policy work and campaigns with key constituencies, allied organizations, and policymakers;
  • Providing legal, policy and strategic support for campaigns at the federal level and across the country, including drafting model legislation or comments on regulatory proposals, policy and legal briefs, and legal analysis;
  • Representing NELP in public forums, legislative and agency hearings, and in the media;
  • Drafting amicus briefs, reports, op-eds, blogs and educational materials, and engaging in strategic communications;
  • Tracking and reporting on key legislative, regulatory, and legal developments in priority workers rights areas.
  • Engaging in a workplace culture where all team members grow and develop professionally; and
  • 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 AreYou have a J.D. Degree, with 1-5 years of experience.   You must be eligible for admission to the bar in the jurisdiction in which the position is filled.  The ideal candidate would have many of the following characteristics, though we will not rule out otherwise qualified candidates simply because they do not satisfy all the items described below:

  • You have advocacy, legal, and research experience promoting labor and employment rights, civil rights and racial justice, or other social or economic justice issues.
  • You have strong experience and a demonstrated commitment to developing and applying an equity framework to programmatic and policy work.
  • You have excellent written and oral communication skills and are able to create materials for a wide-range of audiences.
  • You are skilled at aggregating and synthesizing complex information and concepts.
  • You are strategic and a clear-headed thinker and doer who is able to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • You have experience working in an advocacy organization or public agency focused on labor law and policy, labor unions, or workers’ rights.

 Start Date, Location, Compensation and Benefits:  This position will be based in New York City,  Washington D.C., or Berkeley, CA. Start date will be as soon as possible. Classification and compensation for NELP bargaining unit positions is commensurate with relevant experience and education and based on NELP’s collectively bargained scale.  The 2019 salary range for a Staff Attorney with 1-5 years’ experience is $61,200 to $69,900. Compensation also includes an excellent benefits package, including student loan repayment assistance for qualifying participants. This position is in NELP’s bargaining unit, represented by National Organization of Legal Service Workers, UAW Local 2320.

$61,200 to $69,900
Application Deadline: 
Friday, July 26, 2019
Application Instructions: 

Submit your cover letter, resume, two writing samples (one legal brief and one policy or non-legal audience piece) and three references to, choosing the “Staff Attorney” option under position. If you have questions regarding this announcement, please forward those to nelp [at], noting “Work Structures and Legal Department Staff Attorney—Application” in the subject line. No phone calls or other email inquiries please. We will consider applications on a rolling basis. Applications due by July 26, 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.   

Position Level: 
Country/US Territory: 
United States