Sanford Heisler Public Interest Diversity Fellow


The Fellow will work closely with the supervising attorney(s) of the Legal Aid Society- Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) and a California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA) firm in all aspects of the organization’s or firm’s practice. The Fellow’s work may include direct services, litigation, public education/outreach, legal research and writing, community service, or any combination of these.


1. Under supervision, handle all aspects of state and federal court litigation, including pre-complaint investigation, complaint drafting, motion practice, discovery, trial preparation, trial, post-trial briefing and appellate work.
2. Under supervision, participate in negotiating and executing settlement of litigation.
3. Communicate with and advise clients about litigation matters.
4. Keep abreast of new issues in the field of employment law, legal ethics, and all other matters necessary for the vigorous and competent representation of the client.
5. Maintain and preserve accurate, contemporaneous records of time spent on litigation and other work performed.

Advocacy Other Than Litigation
1. Under supervision, participate in negotiating and executing settlement of pre-litigation matters.
2. Communicate with and advise clients about pre-litigation matters.
3. Give periodic informal assistance to lawyers, community workers, and individuals with employment problems.

Community Legal Services
1. May work on pro bono projects as needed.
2. May represent clients at administrative law proceedings, including at the CUIAB, the EDD, the DLSE, the DFEH and the EEOC.

1. Participate in staff meetings as scheduled.
2. Participate in staff retreats and priority-setting meetings, as scheduled.
3. Participate in recruiting, screening, selection and orientation of new staff and volunteers.

Community Work
1. Participate in community organizations, such as bar groups, employment rights organizations or coalitions, related to the work of the office, as requested.
2. Perform community outreach, as requested.


1. California Bar membership. (This requirement may be waived for a reasonable period of time, at the discretion of the LAS-ELC, to allow the Fellow to take and pass the Bar examination.)
2. Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
3. Superior academic background.
4. Ability to travel as required.
5. Zero to three years legal experience.
6. Commitment to public interest law and social justice work.
7. At the end of the Fellowship, Fellow required to write a minimum 2-5 page essay about his/her experience and what he/she learned.

Additional Desirable Qualifications
(non-exhaustive list)
1. Diverse backgrounds.
2. Judicial clerkship or externship.
3. Foreign language abilities.
4. Knowledge of California and federal employment law principles and civil procedures.

Essential Functions
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the mental and physical capabilities that are essential to perform this job are listed below.
1. Membership in the California Bar (before or during tenure).
2. Ability to perform duties of established project without secretarial support.
3. Ability to use keyboard to type correspondence or complete data entry.
4. Ability to accept and learn from critiques of one’s own work.
5. Ability to accept direction and mentoring.
6. Ability to design and carry out a research project.
7. Sound knowledge of federal and state employment and labor statutes.
8. Ability to read law books and documents.
9. Ability to comprehend and fashion logical legal arguments.
10. Ability to dispense sound legal advice on employment and labor law.
11. Ability to travel, primarily to courts and deposition sites throughout the state, including extended overnight stays.
12. Ability to teach aspects of employment and labor law.
13. Ability to work with diverse groups of people.
14. Ability to speak, read, and write English fluently.
15. Ability to work cooperatively, courteously and efficiently with firm’s staff and volunteers.
16. Ability to access, input, and retrieve personal computer data for several hours each day.
17. Ability to keep contemporaneous attorney time records.
18. Ability to perform all job responsibilities at the LAS-ELC and CELA member firm..
19. Ability to move from one’s workstation to other locations as necessary to complete customary tasks.
20. Ability to lead groups of individuals working on shared projects.
21. Ability to manage several projects simultaneously.
22. Ability to direct support staff and student law clerks.
23. Ability to work long hours when deadlines require.
24. Ability to address the public.
25. Ability to remain calm under pressure.
26. Willingness to accept other work as requested.



Application Process: 

The Foundation for Advocacy Inclusion and Resources (FAIR) is accepting applications for its first annual Sanford Heisler Public Interest Diversity Fellowship, which will enable a new attorney to work full-time for two consecutive six-month terms at the (1) Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center and a (2) law practice affiliated with the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), an organization of more than 1,000 workers’ rights advocates around California. Sanford Heisler, LLP, a leading national public interest firm, has donated the funds to FAIR to provide a Fellow with salary and benefits during the first six months the fellow is working at Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center. The applicant will then be matched with a CELA affiliated firm for the second six month term and be paid a salary and benefits by that entity.

Applicants must have superior academic qualifications, be members of the California Bar (or anticipating becoming members by fall 2014), be committed to a career in social justice, and have 0-3 years of legal experience. Preference will be given to applicants with diverse backgrounds, demonstrated interest in employment law, clinical and/or pro bono and social justice interests, and plans to practice in California. Foreign language abilities and judicial clerkships/externships are also valued.

Applicants are required to submit the following:
1. Fellowship Application Form (attached)
2. Resume
3. Official Law School Transcript
4. Two Letters of Recommendation (preference for employers and/or clinical professors)
5. One Writing Sample (no more than ten pages double-spaced)
6. 500-Word Essay detailing your background, how you became committed to having a public interest career, and your interest in employment law.

The deadline for submitting applications is March 1, 2014 and decisions will be made in April 2014.

Please send all application materials to Use “SH Fellowship” in your subject line.

The Legal Aid Society-Employment Law center is an equal employment opportunity employer and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious creed, sex (including pregnancy), gender, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, medical condition including genetic characteristics, mental or physical disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, (including transgender status), weight, height, linguistic characteristics (such as accent and limited English proficiency, where not substantially job-related), citizenship status, or any other basis prohibited by law. The Society also prohibits discrimination based on a perception that an individual has any of the characteristics of the protected classes of race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, mental disability, physical disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation, and further prohibits discrimination against an individual who is associated with a person who has, or is perceived to have, any of those characteristics. The LAS-ELC will also make reasonable accommodation for disabled applicants and employees, unless such accommodation would result in undue hardship. This policy applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, selection, advancement, compensation, training, discipline, and termination.