Benefits of Being a FAIR Fellow
by Amelia Alvarez
October 2016

For the past year, I have served as the Sanford Heisler Public Interest Diversity Fellow. The fellowship, facilitated by the Foundation for Advocacy Inclusion & Resources (FAIR), was created to further FAIR’s mission of promoting diversity within the plaintiff’s employment bar in California so that the attorneys representing California’s workers are as diverse as those they represent. The fellowship allowed me to spend six months at the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) and six months at a firm affiliated with the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). Understanding that this fellowship provided such a unique chance to work at a public interest organization and a private firm, I embraced the opportunity.

I spent the first half of my fellowship at LAS-ELC in San Francisco. While there, I helped represent some of California’s most vulnerable workers. I regularly served undocumented clients, monolingual Spanish speakers, and victims of wage theft. Whether it was at LAS-ELC’s clinics at the California Labor Commissioner’s office or drafting a brief for a pregnancy discrimination case in LAS-ELC’s Work and Family program, I had the honor of serving clients that often would not be able to secure representation elsewhere due to their immigration status or socioeconomic status. My colleagues at LAS-ELC also fostered an incredibly supportive environment, which was particularly important to me as a new lawyer just beginning my career. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have worked at LAS-ELC, to have served its clients, and to have worked with its inspirational lawyers.

My time at Alexander Krakow + Glick LLP (AKG) has been similarly educational and fulfilling. AKG represents workers across a broad spectrum of industries. While at AKG, I worked on cases involving a wide variety of clients, including restaurant workers, nurses, corporate salespeople, and securities professionals. In addition, AKG resolves cases at various stages of litigation, including pre-litigation, trial, and appeal. By assisting AKG’s partners and more senior attorneys during these stages of litigation, I have learned innumerable lessons about good lawyering. AKG has now made me one of its own, and I look forward to working alongside colleagues I respect and enjoy working with each day.

I am incredibly fortunate to have started my legal career as FAIR’s Sanford Heisler fellow. During my time at both LAS-ELC and AKG, I learned from some of the best attorneys in the state. Additionally, as part of the fellowship, I joined CELA and its community of lawyers committed to employees’ rights and to its members. Most significant, however, is the work I have been able to do on behalf of California’s workers. I am thankful for these experiences and feel privileged to have worked with so many lovely people and colleagues. FAIR’s Sanford Heisler fellowship helped me lay a solid foundation for my legal career, and I look forward to continuing my work representing workers and protecting their rights.