2019–2021 Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellowship

The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy (“The NELA Institute”) is a nonprofit charitable and educational organization. Created in 2008, The NELA Institute’s mission is to advance employee rights through research and advocacy to achieve equality and justice in the American workplace. The NELA Institute seeks to achieve its mission through a multi-disciplinary approach that combines policy development and public education.

The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) is The NELA Institute’s founding organization. NELA is the country’s largest professional organization that is exclusively comprised of lawyers who represent individual employees in cases involving employment discrimination, wrongful termination, employee benefits, illegal workplace harassment and retaliation, as well as other employment-related matters. NELA’s mission is to advance employee rights and serve lawyers who advocate for equality and justice in the American workplace. NELA pursues its mission through education, legislation, public policy, amicus curiae briefs, judicial oversight, and other activities.

Working hand-in-hand, NELA and The NELA Institute reach broadly—engaging advocates, organizations, coalitions, legislators, academics, agency officials, media, and the public—to create a more just workplace. Our vision for the future is one in which workers are paid at least a living wage in an environment free of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and capricious employment decisions; workplaces are diverse and inclusive; employers have duties of care and loyalty to their workers;  workers’ safety and livelihood are not compromised for the sake of management interests; and individuals have effective legal representation to enforce their rights to a fair and just workplace, adequate remedies, and access to the courts to vindicate their workplace rights.

About The Fellowship

Paul H. Tobias is the founder and first Executive Director of NELA. For over fifty years, Paul has inspired countless employee rights advocates through his pioneering and tireless 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 NELA Institute. The Fellow will further, or in some situations may help to launch, such programs.

The 2019–2021 Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellowship is a two-year placement with an annual stipend of $48,000-$51,000, plus health, dental, and vision insurance; annual leave; and medical leave. The Fellowship period is flexible, and may commence between November 1–December 31, 2019, and end between September 1–December 31, 2021 depending on the needs of the applicant and The NELA Institute. The PHT Fellow will be considered a regular full-time staff member and will attend staff meetings and work closely with the Executive Director, Director of Law & Policy, and Program Manager.

A primary policy objective of NELA and The NELA Institute is to protect workers’ access to the courts by ending forced arbitration in the American workplace. The 2019-2021 PHT Fellow will have the opportunity to develop original signature projects in furtherance of that and other objectives, including:

  • Publishing at least two white papers or issue briefs educating the public about workers’ rights;
  • Creating research, data, and in-depth analysis relating to forced arbitration and/or forced privatization of claims by employees.
  • Publishing web-based fact sheets on forced arbitration, workplace harassment, and other topics germane to workers’ rights.
  • Supporting the Director of Law & Public Policy’s creation of toolkits containing information, talking points, phone scripts, and other materials for the promotion of NELA’s legislative priorities.
  • Developing a plan for gathering and publishing the stories of workers who have fought back against violations of their rights.
  • Maintaining the NELA Institute’s dedicated web page to expose corporations that impose forced arbitration on its workforce.
  • Writing articles and blog posts on substantive policy areas impacting workers’ rights.
  • Monitoring and posting content on social media in conjunction with the communications team.
  • Supporting the Director of Operations as requested in the creation of a platform through which NELA state and local affiliates can share, promote, and enact model state legislation.


  • A law degree, and no more than two (2) years of post-law school experience.
    • Law students who will graduate from law school by June 2019 may apply, provided that they are committed to sitting for the bar exam in 2019.
    • Law student applicants must have employment law experience through coursework, clinical legal education, or law school clerkships.
  • A demonstrated commitment to civil and workers’ rights.
  • Outstanding legal research, writing and analytic skills.
  • Ability to work independently and produce a high-quality work product in a timely manner in a multi-task work environment.
  • Ability to work cooperatively in a highly collaborative environment.
  • Ability to coordinate and work effectively with coalition partners.
  • Experience working with a non-profit organization preferred, but not required.
  • Good sense of humor and ability to get along with others.
  • The PHT Fellow must be prepared to travel at least three (3) times per year, and also at the request of the Executive Director.
  • This position may be based in either the San Francisco Bay Area or Washington, D.C.

The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply.

How To Apply

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter describing your interest in the Fellowship and a completed application form, including attachments, to ecolman@employeerightsadvocacy.org, or mail to:

The Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellowship Search Committee
The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy
2201 Broadway, Suite 310
Oakland, CA 94612

Application Form

Applications will be accepted through May 1, 2019, and will be evaluated on a rolling basis until the Fellowship is filled. More information about NELA can be found at www.nela.org. Questions about the Fellowship may be directed to Elizabeth Colman, Senior Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow & Policy Advocate (ecolman@employeerightsadvocacy.org). No phone calls please.

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