Access to Justice Clinic – Workers’ Rights Division

This Access to Justice Division will not be offered in Spring 2024.

The Access to Justice Clinic (CAJC) – Workers’ Rights Division is a 2-credit clinic that focuses on providing legal assistance to low wage workers who have been denied the employment rights. Claims may include wage theft, prohibited discrimination and/or harassment, denial of leave from work and improper denial of unemployment benefits. Students in this clinic focus on developing the skills of conducting client intake and client counseling, providing brief advice, referrals, and direct legal services to workers. From assessing whether there has been a violation of law, helping draft a demand letter to their employer, and/or filing a charge with an administrative agency for lost wages or for unemployment insurance benefits the clinic aims to address the exploitation of low-wage workers.

In addition to seminar classes, students engage in lawyering work. Throughout the semester, students will volunteer at the Workers’ Rights Clinic hosted by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, providing advice and brief services to workers seeking help with employment issues. Students will engage in client interviewing, client counseling, fact investigation, evidence-gathering, legal analysis, demand letter drafting, negotiations, and possibly the initiation of cases to address discrimination, harassment, wage theft and the denial of unemployment benefits.

Students in this clinic enjoy the same close supervision and mentorship that is a hallmark of the GW Clinics as well as the certification to practice as student-attorneys in DC Courts. The time commitment and scope of lawyering work involved in this clinic, however, are far more limited than our traditional 4-6 credit clinics.

Credits: 2 credits - CR/NC (one semester)
Types of matters/cases: unemployment benefits
Skills gained: conducting client intake and client counseling.
Prerequisites: 2Ls and above

Contact Us

The George Washington University Law School
Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics
Access for Justice Clinic
2000 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20052


Laurie S. Kohn

Seminar & Supervision

In the 1-credit seminar, students focus on client counseling and interviewing; demand letter, complaint, and motions drafting; ethics; negotiations; and the dynamics of low-wage worker exploitation. In the seminar, students learn the substantive law and engage in classroom exercises that prepare them for their legal work. Finally, students consider access to justice and strategies for reforming our legal system to address bias, discrimination, and injustice. The seminar is taught collaboratively with faculty who direct the other divisions of the Access to Justice Clinic.

Students will meet with their supervisors on a weekly basis outside of the seminar to review and discuss case strategy and counseling. Supervisors review and provide feedback on all documents and on all client counseling sessions. Finally, students will submit reflections on their performance and their case work.

Information for Prospective Applicants

Students will be selected based on their potential to provide high quality, client-centered legal services to our client population. Faculty will consider students’ interest in and commitment to access to justice, employment law, and/or workers’ rights. In addition, faculty will consider past experiences in working directly with less advantaged clients. Students who have not yet been able to explore these areas should not be deterred from applying.

Interested students must fill out the Uniform Clinic Application from the Law School's student portal website under "Clinics," where a complete set of application instructions are posted at least a few weeks prior to registration. Students may contact the faculty at any time to discuss the Clinic or to ask specific questions. Permission of the faculty is required prior to registration. Students may not enroll in a Field Placement and a Clinic at the same time without prior approval of both departments.


Time Commitment

This 2-credit clinic is intended to provide a clinical experience to students who may not have the ability to devote more credits or time to lawyering work. At the same time, students will be engaged in the practice of law, which can be unpredictable and demanding. Students will be expected to devote an average of 7 hours per week to their Clinic work. The work will ebb and flow during the semester, requiring substantially more work when working under a particular deadline and less work between deadlines. We ask that students be prepared to be as flexible as possible and that they understand that litigation schedules are often driven by judges and clients rather than by lawyers.

Additional Information

For more information, please log in to the Portal. A complete set of application instructions is posted at least a few weeks prior to the registration period for the following semester.