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In the past decade, domestic workers have built a national, grassroots, worker-led movement to address the systemic exclusion of domestic workers from basic wage and hour laws. They have been widely successful in the last three years with the passage of a state domestic worker bill of rights in several states, the adoption by the International Labour Organization of the Convention and Recommendation Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers, and federal policy changes by the Department of Labor. Building visibility through worker leadership and broad-based coalitions, the domestic work campaigns have succeeded in gaining fairer treatment under the law. Behind the scenes, legal clinics have played an important role in the fight to expand legal rights for domestic workers. The Women’s Employment Rights Clinic at Golden Gate University School of Law served as legal counsel to the California Domestic Worker Coalition, providing technical and legal advice on the campaign. This article is a reflection of the Clinic’s work on the campaign, addressing the role of the legislative lawyer in grassroots advocacy, defining the client relationship and structuring client counseling in grassroots coalition, discussing how direct services can inform policy changes, and exploring ways to integrate students in a multi-year campaign.


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