×

Recommended Experience for Labor Attorneys

( 4 votes, average: 3.5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
A student should begin acquiring labor-related experience during his or her college years. According to most labor practitioners, students should gain this experience with summer jobs either in industry (as a laborer in a factory or in construction, preferably in a union-represented company) or in a social service agency (e.g., unemployment office or community health organization). These jobs teach industrial employee relation skills and give students the opportunity to experience directly the day-to-day activities and needs of a labor environment, in a way that no textbook could ever convey.

Conversely, experience in the personnel or business office of a corporation or manufacturer can provide students with valuable exposure to business finance, counseling, negotiation and general management policies and procedures from the point of view of management. This firsthand experience can provide insights that may prove valuable when the time comes to begin negotiations in actual practice, regardless of the side of the table on which the practitioner finds him/herself.


Once a student has entered law school and has had an opportunity to take courses in labor (electives can be selected in some law schools as early as the first semester of the second year of study), it is then time to seek an internship in either a law firm specializing in labor practice or in a government agency. Because it is useful for students to gain an overview of the practice of labor law from both sides, working with a government agency (such as the National Labor Relations Board or the U.S. Department of Labor) was mentioned by most attorneys surveyed as the preferred first labor law practice experience for students. Working with these agencies, students are afforded the chance to observe issues from both the labor and management perspectives.

Summer internships are offered at the NLRB or the Department of Labor, both in the administrative offices in Washington, D.C., and in field offices throughout the country. These first-hand work experiences provide not only the overview perspective previously mentioned, but provide students with the opportunity to sit in on negotiation sessions and hearings and to work individually with an administrative law attorney.

Many practitioners suggested that a student's first internship experience be with such impartial or neutral agencies as the NLRB or the Department of Justice because of the opportunity the student has to determine which side of labor practice is of more personal interest. A student would then avoid the predicament of having to make a snap decision during a job interview with a labor attorney looking for someone with a commitment to the same values and practice interest.

Although some attorneys in small firms represent unions as well as small businesses (always mindful of issues of conflict of interest), it is more common to find that firms are strongly entrenched in one area of practice or the other. Competitive feelings tend to run high because of the normally adversarial relationship. Students approaching a law firm to request experience as an intern should be aware of which side the firm represents.

In summary, labor attorneys on both sides of the practice say that the best experiences students can obtain to prepare themselves for labor specialty would allow them to gain the following skills:
 
  1. The ability to work with people of varying background and levels;
  2. Excellent writing ability;
  3. The art of self-expression through persuasion and oral advocacy;
  4. The development of practical credentials in a labor-related work environment;
  5. An understanding of the student's own personality through self-assessment, including awareness of how the student interacts with others in a high-stress situation.



About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About LawCrossing
LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.LawCrossing.com.


Featured Testimonials

I liked the daily updates and job alerts on LawCrossing. It's a fabulous website.
Susan


Facts

LawCrossing Fact #93: Because they can save jobs in their accounts, users have an easier time finding the right job at the right time.

 
Let's Do It!
Email:

Only LawCrossing consolidates every job it can find in the legal industry and puts all of the job listings it locates in one place.

  • We have more than 25 times as many legal jobs as any other job board.
  • We list jobs you will not find elsewhere that are hidden in small regional publications and employer websites.
  • We collect jobs from more than 250,000 websites and post them on our site.
  • Increase your chances of being seen! Employers on public job boards get flooded with applications. Our private job boards ensure that only members can apply to our job postings.
About Harrison Barnes

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

Success Stories

LawCrossing was probably the best legal board I have used. I liked the layout and it was user friendly. I tried to use another job board, but it was not user friendly and was kind of a pain, whereas LawCrossing was easy to use to find jobs. I really liked it. I would certainly recommend this site and service to my colleagues.
  • Stephen Kobza Tinley Park, IL