SEATTLE (Feb. 25, 2015) — The University of Washington School of Law and UAW Local 4121, the union for Academic Student Employees at UW, announced plans Tuesday to work together to re-envision the law school’s clinical work in employment law.
In the recent past, clinic students have represented workers in efforts to enforce their legal rights, focusing primarily on claims for unpaid wages and unemployment compensation benefits. Under the supervision of licensed attorneys, law school clinics provide critical services for clients. Clinics also develop the skills law students need to serve the community for years to come.
“I’m eager to explore how we can provide leadership on pressing issues for employers and employees in Washington,” said Kellye Testy, Dean of the UW School of Law. “The legal and policy changes taking place in the workplace are important ones for everyone and raise critical issues of economic development and social justice on which UW Law is well-situated to be helpful.”
“The intent is to help all workers have better access to advocates who have leading-edge knowledge and experience,” says David Parsons, President of UAW Local 4121. “With the talent and energy of the UW School of Law, and continued coordination with unions and community partners on and off campus, this venture will play an important role in elevating and enforcing legislation such as increased minimum wage and sick/safe leave.”
“This is a timely development given our collective efforts to crack down on wage theft,” agrees David Freiboth, Executive Secretary of the M.L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “I’m looking forward to continuing our work with the UAW and UW School of Law to develop this project.”
The UW School of Law and the UAW plan to work with community and campus partners over the coming months to develop a sustainable academic and business plan for funding and operating the clinic.