Jennifer Lee directs the Social Justice Lawyering Clinic at the Sheller Center for Social Justice, where she works with law students to represent individuals and organizations on critical issues affecting low-income individuals in the region, with a particular focus on low-wage workers and immigrants. The clinic docket consists of employment cases at all stages of proceedings before the state and federal courts and the representation of grassroots organizations, legal nonprofits, and other entities involved in policy and legislative reform efforts, media advocacy, and community education. In conjunction with such partners, the clinic has worked on issues such as family detention, language access in the state court system, and temp workers. She received the Crystal Eastman Award for her clinic’s work on wage theft, including for the report Shortchanged, which exposes the problem of wage theft in Pennsylvania.
Lee’s scholarship focuses on low-wage workers and immigrant rights, with a special interest in the ways that immigration status intersects employment and labor rights. Her recent publications have examined immigrant workers and their social mobilization, the regulation of wage theft, and low-wage migrant workers and their participation in temporary visa worker programs (“guest worker” programs). In 2020, Lee received the Derrick A. Bell Award from the Minority Law Teacher’s Section of the AALS, which honors a junior faculty member for their activism, teaching, and scholarship. She also visited at the Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City as a García-Robles Fulbright Scholar to work on issues confronting temporary visa workers and comparative child migrant detention policies and practices.
Prior to joining the Temple faculty, Lee was a farm worker attorney in Colorado and North Carolina, where she represented farm workers in wage and hour, civil rights, human trafficking, and immigration cases. For her work, Lee and her colleagues were awarded the Paul & Sheila Wellstone Award to Combat Human Trafficking and the Cesar Chavez Organizational Leadership Award. Earlier in her career she was a visiting clinical professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Colorado, a Clifton Everett Fellow at Legal Aid of North Carolina, and a Staff Attorney at South Brooklyn Legal Services. Lee clerked for the Hon. Franklin Van Antwerpen in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania following her graduation from law school.