CUNY Law’s Jonathan Harris has been selected as a 2010 Skadden Fellow. The two year fellowship will allow him to start a new economic justice project at Manhattan Legal Services, assisting Manhattan’s working poor and recently unemployed to rebuild their financial lives in the wake of the recession through integrated legal services and systemic advocacy in employment and consumer law. Read the full project description below.
Manhattan’s low-income residents struggle even in a strong economy. Now the “Great Recession” has forced many workers to confront the simultaneous challenges of unemployment and job scarcity, employers engaged in wage theft, and high consumer debt. Focusing on clients who find themselves at the intersection of these challenges, Jonathan’s project will provide neighborhood-based legal services so that clients can: (1) obtain unemployment benefits; (2) recover damages from employment law violators; and (3) protect their assets from unscrupulous debt collectors. Along with direct representation, Jonathan will collaborate with community groups by holding on-site economic justice clinics and coordinating representations that support the groups’ advocacy work. He will also work with the Legal Services NYC network, government agencies, and other stakeholders to promote systemic changes that assist the working poor and recently unemployed survive the recession and find the path to economic sustainability.
Other CUNY Law Skadden Fellows include Tanya Kessler (2009), Ruth Cusick (2008), Hollis Pfitsch (2006), John Freeman (2004), Rebecca Price (2003), Ann Cammett (2000), Jaribu Hill (1995), Lori Nessel (1992), and Paula DiStabile (1991).
Update: Jan 25, 2010 – Jonathan is also second prize winner of the Samuel M. Kaynard Memorial Student Service Award from the Labor and Employment Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. The award is based on academic excellence, relevant employment and internship experience, and, especially, leadership in law school co-curricular activities fostering greater awareness of labor and employment law issues. Mr. Harris, a former labor organizer, has recruited CUNY Law students to become active on worker rights issues and is publishing an article in the New York City Law Review on the National Labor Relations Act. Mr. Harris will be publicly recognized at the Labor and Employment Law Section’s annual luncheon on January 29, 2010 in Manhattan.