Why choose employment law? Law school graduates beginning their career may wonder what area of law they should practice. For many soon-to-be lawyers the practice area of their career may be whatever employs them or whatever employs them first. Law students often desire practicing what are considered prestigious areas of law. They may also gravitate to those areas most taught in law school like family law. Few law students take courses in employment law or labor law because few courses exist. It is an unusual situation given that employment law deals with one of the most common legal relationships in this country.
Employment law is a civil rights area of law
Often people think about “civil rights” as dealing with issues like freedom of speech, police injustice or racism in government services. While these are definitely issues of civil rights, they are not the only civil rights. Employment law deals with equality on a broad range. Employment discrimination in particular deals with issues of equality including and beyond racism. Employment law also deals with the power relationship between employer and employee. Lawyers looking for opportunities to work in civil rights may find their meaningful work in this area of law.
Employment law deals with both transactional and litigation work
Employment law provides opportunities for lawyers to work both on the transactional side as well as litigation. Many employment lawyers who work employer-side perform transactional work while plaintiff employee-side lawyers are more likely to litigate employment law issues. Lawyers seeking either type of practice can find work within employment law.
Employment lawyers work in all sizes of law firms
Lawyers considering employment law may have in mind a particular type of law firm in which they wish to work. Employment law firms run the gamut. Biglaw normally has a labor and employment law practice all the way down to solo practitioners. Employer-side employment lawyers often work for large firms or smaller firms that focus on business law and other business-related areas of law. Employee-side employment lawyers often work for smaller firms but may find themselves working for large plaintiffs’ firms working employment law class actions. Employment lawyers also work for government entities from state and local governments to various federal agencies. They may work representing workers in complaints, such as EEOC lawyers, or may represent the government entities from those same claims.
Employment law issues often involve other areas of law
Employment law issues may involve several other areas of law so lawyers seeking work in an area of law with fewer job opportunities may find interesting work in employment law. Employment lawyers deal with related areas of law such as:
- First Amendment law
- Contract law
- Procedural law
- Administrative law
- Family law
- Privacy law
- Securities law
- Tort law
- Business organizations law
- Bankruptcy law
- Trust law
Many employment law issues directly involve tort and contract law by virtue of the basic nature of the employer-employee relationship; however, employment law problems can arise with a connection to many other areas of law.