Lydia Edwards

  • Hosted by Greater Legal Services
  • Sponsored by McDermott Will & Emery LLP
  • Service location Boston, Massachusetts
  • Law school American University Washington College of Law
  • Issue area Domestic Violence, Immigrant Populations, Immigrant Populations/Minorities, Trafficking/Slavery
  • Fellowship class year 2014
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Lydia advocated for and represented labor-trafficked domestic workers who were disproportionately immigrant women of color, and provided legal resources for both immigration and civil remedies to prevent continued abuse through sustainable work.

Domestic workers are the second largest population being trafficked into the United States, yet few resources are dedicated to their representation. They are often isolated and easily hidden by their employers. When they come forward, the legal services for immigration and wages are bifurcated. This fellowship project seeks to create a comprehensive representation model where a trafficked domestic worker can be represented for her U or T visa and also her back wages or other civil remedies. This project will also create legal resources to assist current cooperatives and to help workers create cooperatives to ensure workers can have reasonable paid work regardless of their immigration status.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Lydia Edwards has:

  • Secured immigration document for trafficking survivors
  • Participated in a care democracy network to create cooperatives
  • Advocated for domestic workers and trafficking survivors at various state agencies and community gatherings
  • Named Bostonian of the Year “Lawyer with the Heart of an Activist” by Boston Globe Magazine

Where are they now?

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Lydia Edwards plans to:

  • Begin in a position with the new Department on Housing Stability
  • Volunteer in labor trafficking relief efforts to continue to aid domestic workers
  • Mentor and train newer attorney interested in the solidarity economy and creating worker cooperatives

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Pooja Dadhania

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Sponsor: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Viacom

Jessica Emerson

Host: The Women's Law Center of Maryland

Sponsor: Friends and Family of Philip M. Stern