New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice



About the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice

The New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ) is a multi-disciplinary impact strategy center and “think and do tank” as well as a membership organization. We are dedicated to expanding democracy, winning a just economy, and transforming the country by transforming the South. The Workers’ Center is a critical architect of permanent progressive civil society infrastructure in the South. At the end of our first decade, we are gearing up to advance a long-term Southern agenda for an inclusive economy. NOWCRJ has been nationally recognized for direct worker organizing, strategic campaigns, policy advocacy, litigation, and coalition building to advance immigrant rights, racial justice, and economic equity.

Description of Opportunity

NOWCRJ seeks to sponsor one or more individuals for a 2018 post-graduate fellowship (Equal Justice Works, Skadden, Soros Justice, Liman, etc.) NOWCRJ is also open to hearing from individuals wishing to do law school-funded short-term or long-term fellowships in 2017.

NOWCRJ has a unique and diverse practice and we would welcome applicants interested in implementing a one or two-year fellowship project in any of the following areas:

  • Immigration enforcement. NOWCRJ helped to establish

groundbreaking pro-immigrant policies in New Orleans and would like to do the same in Jefferson Parish, where NOWCRJ has a deep membership base and where terrifying home raids and racial profiling are increasing as the Trump deportation machine kicks into gear.

Fellowship projects could include: civil rights abuse documentation; litigation under the U.S. Constitution and Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871; motions to suppress evidence collected during unconstitutional raids; and legal support for advocacy to change local policy.

  • Full and fair employment for Black workers. Black workers in

New Orleans and throughout the South are locked into structural and long-term unemployment and low wage jobs. Fellowship projects could focus on enforcement of local hiring ordinances, and workplace monitoring.

  • Right to counsel in immigration court. Though New Orleans

has vibrant and expanding immigrant communities, there is a dearth of free and low cost representation in immigration court. A fellowship project in this area could focus on direct representation of workers in cases related to civil rights, labor trafficking and workers’

rights, and conducting research and building a coalition towards an innovative Louisiana immigrant access to justice project at the city level through training, education and coalition building.

  • Immigration detention. For-profit detention centers in

western Louisiana serve as key nodes in the deportation pipeline for a five-state Southern region. A fellowship project could focus on habeas corpus litigation to bring constitutional challenges to no-bond detention. Despite a mounting wave of precedent across the country on the constitutional limits to no-bond immigration detention, these cases have been unsuccessful and stymied by extreme delay in the Western District of Louisiana. This project would build on NOWCRJ’s past habeas cases, learning from the challenges unique to this jurisdiction and building innovative litigation strategies to overcome them.

  • Seafood Worker Campaign. NOWCRJ’s National Guestworker

Alliance recently launched the Alliance of Seafood Workers to improve conditions in the seafood industry from the Gulf Coast to New England.

Fellowship projects could focus on research, policy advocacy, member support, and/or labor standards litigation (FLSA, OSHA etc.) to improve working conditions in this industry.


  • Experience with or demonstrated commitment to movement building or immigrant justice work.
  • Commitment to legal practice in a way that empowers collective vision and action by low-income workers and communities of color.
  • Excellent research, writing and court advocacy skills.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to work collaboratively in an interdisciplinary setting.
  • Sense of humor in order to maintain perspective and balance.
  • Spanish-speaking candidates are highly encouraged to get in touch.
  • Be willing to sit for the Louisiana bar exam (see more information below)
  •  Be eligible for a post-graduate fellowship (third year law student or law school graduate)

Women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals strongly encouraged to get in touch.

Salary & Benefits

Salary will be set according to the terms of the fellowship program.

NOWCRJ’s benefit package includes paying 100% of health insurance premiums, including for family members.

Louisiana Bar Exam

Fellows need to sit for the Louisiana bar exam before or after their fellowship starts. NOWRCJ will pay all costs associated with studying for and passing the Louisiana bar exam and becoming admitted to practice law in Louisiana. Although Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. using the civil law system, the Louisiana bar and Louisiana law and practice are fundamentally similar to other states. The Louisiana bar exam passage rate for first-time takers who graduated from law schools outside of Louisiana was 70%. In addition, historically, 80% of NOWRCJ’s practice has been before federal agencies and federal courts.

To apply:

Please send a short email with specific fellowship interests, if any, and resume to Kerry O’Brien at, subject line:

Fellowship 2018. Applications will only be accepted electronically.

Please include a daytime phone number.

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