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Just Thoughts is the blog of the Empire Justice Center, New York’s statewide, multi-issue, multi-strategy public interest law firm focused on changing the “systems” within which poor and low income families live. Here staff and guest authors will share stories, announcements and perspectives on timely issues related to our work.

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Nurturing a Passion for Lawyering

Issue Area: Employment

It’s hard to believe it has been a year since I moved to Rochester to start my career as an attorney and the Hanna S. Cohn Equal Justice Fellow.  I can still remember getting the call from Kristi Hughes on the last day of my final exams, offering me the fellowship position.  It was exhilarating then and still is now.  I am so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to start off my legal career developing a project that integrates my passion for economic and racial justice and my practice values: community lawyering, law and organizing, and systems change.


Rochester has been so welcoming and warm to me. I have grown to love it here. The sense of community I have developed in a smaller city has been refreshing and nourishing, and has made it that much easier to build relationships with low wage workers, stakeholders, community members, and organizations who share my passion for worker justice and support the Wage Justice Project.


The work has been extremely challenging and rewarding, I’ve conducted wage theft outreach and trainings for workers and advocates, developed a wage theft survey, negotiated settlements for workers, filed Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law actions in federal court on behalf of low wage workers, and built the groundwork for the formation of a grassroots Worker Center here in Rochester.


I would like to encourage all third year law students who have a passion for justice, a thirst for adventure, and a vision for an innovative legal services project to apply for this fellowship. It has been an amazing adventure thus far and I can’t wait to see what the second year of my fellowship has in store for me!

Tags: Fellowship | Hanna Cohn | Community Lawyering | Wage Theft | Employment Law | Legal Services

Empire Justice Center welcomes all pertinent comments to its Just Thoughts blog. We request that comments be courteous and add to the conversation. We reserve the right to moderate, not post and remove comments that are not on topic, are abusive, offensive or obscene, or are commercial spam.

Conversation Starter: What do you think is the most important wage justice issue impacting workers today?
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