Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow

Founded in 2008, the National Institute for Workers’ Rights (the Institute) is NELA’s partner 501(c)(3) think tank. The Institute’s mission is to advance workers’ rights through research, thought leadership, and education for policymakers, advocates, and the public. The Institute is in an exciting growth moment, as we are searching for our first Institute Director, who will further the programmatic and strategic goals of The Institute and the work of the Fellow.

Founded in 1985, the National Employment Lawyers Association’s (NELA’s) mission is to empower workers’ rights attorneys through legal training, promoting a fair judiciary, and advocating for laws and policies that level the playing field for workers. NELA is the country’s largest professional organization that is exclusively comprised of lawyers who represent workers in cases involving employment discrimination and harassment, wage theft, employee benefits, and other employment-related matters. For more information about NELA, visit

NELA and the Institute aspire to a future in which all workers are treated with dignity and respect; workplaces are equitable, diverse, and inclusive; and the well-being of workers is a priority in business practices. Working hand-in-hand, NELA and the Institute reach broadly—engaging advocates, organizations, coalitions, legislators, academics, agency officials, media, and the public—to create a more just workplace.

About The Fellowship

Paul H. Tobias is the founder and first Executive Director of NELA, and has inspired countless employee rights advocates for over fifty years through his ongoing, pioneering contributions to the field of plaintiffs’ employment law. To cultivate the next generation of employee rights advocates, The Paul H. Tobias (PHT) Attorney Fellowship Program offers a new lawyer who embodies Paul’s spirit the opportunity to work on cutting-edge projects at NELA and The Institute.

The Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellowship is a one- or two-year placement with an annual stipend of $60,000; $1,000 in professional development funding; 100% employer-paid base health, dental, and vision insurance; annual leave; medical leave; and thirteen paid holidays. The Fellowship period is flexible and can commence at any time between May 2022-September 2022. The Fellowship will end between September 1–December 31, 2023 or 2024. The Institute and NELA welcome candidates who wish to work in our exciting Washington, DC office, our Concord, CA headquarters, or remotely.

The Institute and NELA are a small team, providing the PHT Fellow an opportunity to work with a variety of staff members on a wide range of projects and programs that further The Institute and NELA’s vision. The work of The Institute is developing and dynamic. During this Fellowship you will:

  • Use your research, data, and analysis skills to engage a variety of audiences on cutting-edge issues, including the impact of the gig economy on vulnerable workers and forced arbitration in employment.
  • Track and publish works on emerging issues in the field of workers’ rights;
  • Apply your legal skills to legislative and public policy advocacy.
  • Conceptualize and develop innovative legal programming.

About The PHT Fellow

The PHT Fellow must:

  • Have a J.D. and has either passed the bar, or will take the bar during the tenure of the Fellowship;
  • Enjoy collaborating with a small team and have a passion for civil and workers’ rights;
  • Be self-motivated and flexible. The PHT Fellow should be ready to keep up with emerging issues and develop ideas to give the Institute a vital voice in the fight for workers’ rights;
  • Excel in research and writing for different audiences (i.e., legal journals or blog posts);
  • And be curious and open to asking questions.

It would be great if the PHT Fellow:

  • Is interested in, or has experience with, public policy work or worker organizing;
  • Has a background in workers’ rights advocacy or research;
  • Is experienced with social media or other innovative ways to connect with collaborators, advocates, and the public;
  • And enjoys creating long-term implementation plans to make exciting ideas actionable projects.

The Institute and NELA are equal opportunity employers. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The Institute and NELA encourage applications from all persons without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

The Institute and NELA make every effort to assure that our recruitment and employment practices provide all persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions, and we are committed to providing reasonable accommodations as needed.

If you are a person with a disability and need an accommodation to apply for this position, please e-mail or call (415) 296-7629.  If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

Please feel free to reach out to Ashley Westby, Program Manager, at with any questions regarding this Position Description. Please send your resume, and cover letter to

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