Rosanna Barajas (3L) and Michael Arellanez (2L) have been selected to represent Thomas Jefferson School of Law at The Peggy Browning Fund’s Fifteenth Annual National Law Students Workers’ Rights Conference at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute (just outside Baltimore, MD) on October 25 – 26, 2013. The Peggy Browning Fund is a nonprofit organization named after a prominent labor attorney and vigorous supporter of workers’ rights. Both students exemplify a strong commitment to public interest law and workplace justice, and will join other conference participants from law schools across the country. “TJSL has sent two participants to the Workers’ Rights conference for the last several years,” said Professor Susan Bisom-Rapp, who teaches Labor Law and Global Workplace Law at TJSL and is a member of the selection committee. "Our students have represented us well. At the same time, the conference provides our students with an incomparable training and networking opportunity. Rosanna and Michael each exhibit the kind of passion and analytical sophistication necessary to excel in a career in this area.” TJSL Professor Rebecca Lee also is a member of the selection committee and said, "It is exciting to work with the Peggy Browning Fund in sending student representatives from TJSL to the conference each year. We appreciated reviewing all of the applications and are pleased to offer both Rosanna and Michael this valuable experience as a way to further build on their impressive activities toward a career in labor and work law." Barajas’ exposure and interest in labor law started as a child when she first learned of Cezar Chavez’ work and by witnessing her parent’s work as farm workers and factory workers. “I feel extremely honored and grateful to have been selected to represent TJSL at the Peggy Browning Fund Workers’ Rights Conference,” said Barajas. “My parents have been my inspiration to be an advocate for others, particularly low-wage workers who face exploitation in the workplace but are afraid or unable to fight mistreatment. Employment and labor law violations are more common and serious than one may imagine, hurting both the workers and their families. This conference will provide me with further education as to how to bring justice in the workplace to protect these workers and their families.”
Barajas also has gained extensive experience in employment law issues working as a legal secretary and paralegal for eight years prior to coming to law school, as an intern with Stratton and Green, ALC, and by working with TJSL Professor Luz Herrera on research regarding wage claims. Arellanez is the son of a union member and a former business representative for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Since his first year of law school, he has been working with Brunn & Flynn Attorneys, where he has had the opportunity to draft and file complaints with the National Labor Relations Board and Department of Fair Employment and Housing. “I would like to thank TJSL for the privilege of attending the conference in order to gain a better perspective of the important issues advocates of workers’ rights are facing,” said Arellanez. “Labor law is a dynamic area of practice with great opportunity for personal and professional growth. It involves over lapping concepts from core classes offered to law students and unique avenues for resolving client issues. Labor law issues serve as a reminder that legal and important political changes have an impact on the lives and health of all Americans.” The trip to the conference is being funded by TJSL and the Peggy Browning Fund. For more information about The Peggy Browning Fund, please visit www.peggybrowningfund.org or contact TJSL's Career Services Office.