Header5a - RH
Issue: Vol 2  # 8
August, 2010   
In This Issue
Wage Claim Clinic Open House September 23rd ...
Be On the Lookout ...
Open the Door ...
Unpaid Wages ...
Wage Claim Clinic Open House

   You are cordially invites to attend an

Open House for the Wage Claim Clinic Thursday,
September 23, 2010
6:00 to 9:00 pm

Uptown New Orleans
Please RSVP to receive location information.

Come learn more about our unique litigation, education and advocacy work in cases of worker non-payment and discrimination.

Live music, drinks, and light refreshments. Feel free to bring your friends & colleagues. 

Please RSVP by ASAP to


Presented by:
Loyola Law Clinic-Workplace Justice Project
The Pro Bono Project
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans

Be On the Lookout for Your Invitation ...

   Be on the lookout for your invitation so that you can come on down to the Audubon Tea Room  on Friday, October 1st  at 8:00 pm for the 2010 Justice For All Ball and party with our wild friends!  Lady Justice is 'axing' for you, so buy your single tickets now at: 2010 JFAB Tickets.
Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers will be playing some good ole' New Orleans tunes to get you up on your feet. 

   Local restaurants and the Audubon Tea Room will provide food and drink.

   We have loads of Raffle Prizes for $5 a chance, and jaw-dropping Silent Auction items, which will be posted on the website shortly, and featured in next month's In Brief. 

  Corporate sponsorships are still available, please contact Rachel Piercey if you know of any businesses that may be interested in supporting The Project in this way.

   Please continue to watch this space for more details in coming editions, but in the meantime -- join Lady Justice on October 1st because she's 'axing' for you!

Open the Door: Be A Partner for Pro Bono

LA Giving B&W

Please open the door for our clients and volunteers and support The Project by clicking on the Louisiana Giving logo above. 

Become a
Partner for Pro Bono
by checking the
"make this a recurring donation" box on The Project's donation page when you click the above link. Make your Annual Donation over 12 months.

 Help us plan for the future by contacting
Rachel PIercey at 504.581.4043 about the Pro Bono for Life Planned Giving program.

Follow-up Links
JFAB 2010

    It's hard to believe August has rolled around again!  But, here we are, five years after Katrina, still doing the important work of The Project to help rebuild the lives of long-time metro area citizens and newcomers alike.

    This month's main feature takes a close look at the success of The Project's Employment Law Program, which came about as a direct result of post-Katrina efforts to rebuild the City.  Funded in part by Oxfam America's Gulf Coast Equity Program/Immigrant and Workers Rights Initiative, the Employment Law Program is still forging new ground in recovering wages for the working poor in the metro area. 

   Our thanks goes out to Oxfam America for their generous support of this program, which ends with their next grant cycle.  As a result, we offer a fond farewell, along with our profound appreciation to Ilana Scherl, Oxfam's Gulf Coast Field Representative, who has worked with The Project since 2007, as she moves on to her next project.

   Finally, as the 5th Anniversary approaches, we find ourselves celebrating with deep gratitude the efforts of staff, volunteers, law students, funders and legal organizations nationwide, all who rallied to our aid then and who continue to help us blaze new trails now.

In grateful celebration,

Rachel Piercey
Executive Director

Unpaid Wages? The Project & Others to the Rescue ...

    It doesn't seem like much - a few hundred here, a thousand or so there - but to working laborers, many who can not understand English very well, recovering unpaid wages can make a big difference in their quality of life.
    They have come here from near and far since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the area five years ago.  They have cleaned up, knocked down, swung a few hammers, buzzed some saws and been part and parcel of the physical rebuilding of this metro area since late 2005.  They are citizens of the world, and now hometown residents, trying to carve a life for themselves and their families in metro New Orleans.
    At the same time, these laborers, many from our Spanish-speaking neighbors in Mexico, Central and South America, have been over-worked, underfed, housed badly, and then cheated out of the funds duly owed to them by the many unscrupulous, fly-by-night contractors that also flooded the area post-Katrina.
    In that cacophony of chaos, the cry came for a much needed, bi-lingual civil legal program to aid these many workers in their plight to capture these stolen wages.  And so, The Project's Employment Law Program was born - an outgrowth of the Wage Claim Clinic started by Loyola Law Clinic and Catholic Charities Hispanic Apostolate.
    Five years later, the Wage Claim Clinic continues to serve the many workers who come up against less than honest employers. A July 29, 2010 article by online tri-lingual publication the Jambalaya News offers a unique 'slice of life' at a recent Wage Claim Clinic.

    "It's a matter of serving justice and making it accessible to those who do not always understand the rules, but yet know when they've been cheated out of wages or treated unfairly by their employer," explains The Project's Vanessa Spinazola, who manages the Employment Law Program.
    Working cooperatively with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Employment Law Project, The Project's Employment Law Program has already handled a landmark case testing the validity of the U-Visa.  The case was settled last year, recovering over $175,000 unpaid wages for 39 workers.

    While not all cases are this spectacular and ground-breaking in nature, the value of the work done by the program and in the Wage Claim Clinic, held regularly each Thursday, is no small effort.  In the second quarter of 2010, ending June 30, almost $23,000 in unpaid wages was recovered.   In just three months, from April through June, 2010, the program and the Wage Claim Clinic conducted 92 new intakes, wrote 53 demand letters, completed 45 follow-up interviews, opened eight cases for litigation and saw 193 worked on 127 different cases. 
    Oxfam America has been an on-going supporter of the program since its inception in 2007, providing approximately 50% of the program's operational costs.   While continuing to support many different initiatives in the Gulf Coast area, Oxfam America's financial support of The Project's Employment Law Program is coming to an end.

    The remaining costs for the Employment Law Program have been covered through The Project's annual budget, as well as by smaller grants and individual donations, including an initial grant from the ABA's Labor and Employment Section.

   This program serves a great need in the community and we are actively seeking a new funding source to continue the level of service this program provides.   If anyone knows of, or can assist us in connecting with any appropriate financial sponsors, please contact Executive Director Rachel Piercey at 504.581.4043 or via email.

   In 2008, The ABA's Labor and Employment Section, Pro Bono Committee recognized The Pro Bono Project and the Employment Law and Wage Claim Program, by awarding its highest honor for excellence, The Frances Perkins Award for Public Service.
    For more information on or to become a funder of The Project's Employment Law Program, please contact Executive Director Rachel Piercey at 504.581.4043 or via email.
Our Mission

The Pro Bono Project's mission is to provide free, quality civil legal services to the poor by engaging volunteer attorneys to render pro bono services.
  The Project serves Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Washington Parishes with funding from the Justice For All Ball and other sources.  The Project works in collaboration with other legal and social service providers to improve the quality of life for our clients and our community.