Clinic: Transnational Worker Rights

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
WED 3:30 - 5:20 pm CCJ 3.306

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


Students in this new clinic will represent low-income immigrant workers in the Austin area in cases recovering unpaid wages for work performed, as well as engage in other advocacy projects asserting the rights of workers here and abroad. Depending on the requirements of each case, students will participate in worker education meetings, interview and advise clients, investigate cases and develop case strategy, negotiate with opposing parties, research legal issues, prepare legal documents including pleadings, motions and discovery, represent clients in litigation, administrative actions, and community-based enforcement strategies, and may assist in developing cases for criminal prosecutions on wage fraud charges. Clinic students will help their clients acquire the knowledge and skills to protect their own employment rights while grounding their representation efforts in the broader context of transnational and international labor rights advocacy. International labor rights advocacy projects may include such projects as assistance with domestic litigation involving international labor rights claims, investigation of foreign labor conditions, or preparation of cases alleging international labor rights violations for regional or international labor and human rights bodies. The course will be taught by Professor Bill Beardall. Beardall is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the former Director of the Migrant Worker Division of Texas Rural Legal Aid and an expert on low-wage employment rights. He has 25 years of experience representing immigrant workers and training young attorneys. The casework component will be conducted in cooperation with the Central Texas Immigrant Worker Rights Center, a project of the Equal Justice Center (EJC) of Austin, operated in collaboration with Casa Marianella, Catholic Charities of Central Texas and the Mexican Consulate. The clinic requires students to devote approximately 12 hours per week to handling cases, including two scheduled office hours per week and evening worker meetings and conferences with clients, as necessary. The classroom component of the clinic will meet once a week, with twice-weekly meetings early in the semester. The coursework will place the employment rights of transnational workers in a broader, interdisciplinary framework of evolving national and international labor and human rights advocacy. Instruction will address issues such as wage and hour law, civil litigation and representation skills, ethical issues in legal representation, transnational labor migration patterns, the relationship between immigration laws and the workplace, the International Labor Organization and the core international labor standards, the NAFTA Labor Side Agreement, and domestic and international mechanisms for the enforcement of worker rights. The clinic is open to students who have completed the first year of law school. While there are no prerequisites, students will benefit from previous course work or experience regarding employment law, immigration law, international law, human rights law, low-wage working people, migrant workers or immigrant communities, or experience in or regarding Latin American communities. Most clinic clients are Spanish-speakers from a variety of Latin American countries. Spanish fluency accordingly is preferred, but not required. Questions about the clinic may be directed to Sarah Cleveland at or to Bill Beardall at Please put "Worker Rights Clinic" in the subject line of any communication. This clinic has been established through a generous grant from the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation.