Academy Fellows Call for Applications

Application Deadline: January 21, 2021

For more information, contact Carolyn Lam at
Click here  for information about joining NELC. 

The National Employment Law Council (“NELC“) invites applications for selection as Fellows to the 2021 NELC Virtual Academy scheduled for April 2021. NELC is a non-profit organization charged with enriching minority bar members who represent management in the field of labor and employment law.

The NELC Academy is open to attorneys of color with less than four years of experience practicing management-side labor and employment law. The NELC Academy provides advanced skills training, exposes Fellows to NELC’s national network of experienced minority labor and employment attorneys, fosters mentoring relationships, and creates a pipeline for future NELC leaders.

All NELC Academy Fellows will have direct interaction with in-house attorneys and leading minority labor and employment defense lawyers from across the country and will be partnered with an experienced attorney mentor. Space in the 2021 NELC Academy will be limited to a maximum of 30 participants and is expected to be highly competitive; preference will be given to lawyers with 2-3 years in practice. Great weight is given to personal statements and letters of recommendation.

To apply for the NELC Virtual Academy, submit the following items no later than January 21, 2021:

  • Personal statement on what the applicant hopes to achieve by participating in the NELC Academy (maximum 500 words, in PDF format). The statement should include a self-assessment of the applicant’s career growth challenges and a paragraph describing the qualities the applicant is looking for in a mentor relationship.  
  • Applicant’s bio or resume (in PDF format).
  • Strong partner or client recommendation of applicant for the Academy (maximum 500 words, in PDF format).
  • The application must be endorsed by a member of the NELC Board of Directors. The endorsement may be in the form of a short email endorsing the application. Applicants may reach out directly to members of the NELC Board of Directors or contact Carolyn Lam at for assistance in doing so.
  • Returning Academy Fellows please contact Carolyn Lam for application instructions.

A complete application package must be submitted by email to Samantha Woo, at, with a copy to Gwen Robinson, at, no later than January 21, 2021Early applications are strongly encouraged; late, incomplete or perfunctory application materials may not be considered. If you do not receive an email confirmation that your application has been received within 48 hours of submission, please contact Gwen Robinson.

Academy participation is underwritten by NELC and its sponsors. Registration fee is $500. (Applicants should contact Samantha Woo if their employer will not pay for their registration). Fellows will be required to actively participate in an Academy-only LinkedIn group in the weeks before the Academy to facilitate full engagement in the program.

The NELC Virtual Academy will be held in conjunction with NELC’s annual comprehensive labor and employment law conference over consecutive Fridays around the latter part of April 2021 (all applicants will receive confirmation of the dates in January). Academy applicants need not be members othef NELC. Click here for information about joining the NELC

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                                                                              Feedback from Academy Fellows at the 2020 Virtual Conference

“I left the Virtual Academy feeling invigorated and excited about being in the labor and employment practice as a minority attorney.

Everyone on the planning committee was phenomenal. All of the other Fellows are great. I am grateful that I had the chance to learn from some of the greatest attorneys in the country on subjects that will help me take those next steps in my career. This has been the best law-related experience I have had since going to law school.

I loved my NELC experience and fellow class members. I have been blown away with the generosity of the committee members and feel lucky to be a part of this group.

It was very encouraging, uplifting, and valuable from both a practical and interpersonal perspective.
It means the world to me to have the opportunity to connect with successful black and brown people who look like me who are willing to help aid in my success.

I attend a lot of random Zoom CLEs, and most of them aren’t very engaging even for the full hour. The Academy was consistently enjoyable and educational throughout both days.

I have felt isolated, withdrawn, overworked. Still, the Academy was a highlight for me and I felt my spirit change when I was able to connect with the Fellows. NELC really is family.

The planning committee is an excellent team and I am grateful for your support and commitment to the personal and professional development of NELC Fellows!

NELC Academy is the most inspiring conference I have ever attended. I feel motivated to implement the advice we received from our presenters and Academy alumni to become a better attorney and more well-rounded individual. It is beyond satisfying to know there are so many successful and kind attorneys who are willing to serve as a resource, sound board, and mentor to foster Fellows’ success.

I was impressed by how smoothly the virtual conference worked and I am excited about meeting everyone in person and building a network through the Fellows’ GroupMe and future events.

It was really great to see the way that NELC attorneys (and especially Academy Alumni) support each other at all stages of their careers. People talk a lot about networking and such, but seeing how diverse attorneys can actually, effectively, support each other—and how much they want to pay that support forward—was fantastic.

I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of the NELC Academy and cannot recommend the program enough.”

2020 Virtual Academy Sponsor
Goldberg Kohn


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