Practitioner in Residence
Future of Work & Workers
Unions & Worker Organizations
Seema N. Patel has more than 20 years of combined experience in labor and employment law and policy, workers’ rights, union organizing, and movement lawyering. She has dedicated her career to fighting to improve conditions for low-wage workers—predominantly within communities of color. Seema holds a joint appointment as Practitioner in Residence at the UC Berkeley Labor Center and as a Lecturer at the UC Berkeley School of Law.
Prior to joining the Labor Center, Seema served as Clinical Director for the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), where she served on the organization’s executive team, oversaw the operation and teaching of Berkeley Law’s eight community-based clinics, and taught Community Lawyering. Seema also teaches doctrinal courses on Movement Lawyering and Love, Lawyering & Liberation. Prior to entering legal academia and teaching, Seema worked for a decade in the public sector. As the inaugural Deputy Director of San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement—a national leader in progressive labor standards—Seema oversaw rulemaking and implementation for the country’s first municipal secure scheduling law and first local parental leave mandate. She also served in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), where she focused on improving working conditions and policies affecting immigrant workers. Seema worked at the Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor, first as an Appellate Litigator in Washington, D.C., and later as a Trial Attorney in DOL’s Region IX office in San Francisco. After graduating from UC Berkeley School of Law, Seema clerked for the Honorable Andre M. Davis, [then] U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (later, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit); and for the Honorable Harry Pregerson [dec.], U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. After graduating from law school and completing the clerkships, Seema moved to Gujarat, India, to organize slum-dwelling “ragpickers” (trash collectors) into a cooperative society. Prior to law school, Seema organized South Asian immigrant laundry workers on the east coast.
J.D., University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (2006)
B.A., Political Science, Rhetoric & German (Triple Major), University of California, Berkeley (2000)