How do I Become a Labor Law Attorney?

Nicholas K.

A labor law attorney works with labor unions, corporations, and government agencies to interpret complex employment laws. You can start toward a career as a labor law attorney by completing law school. An externship with a law firm, a corporation, or a labor union can enhance the value of your legal education. You may become a labor law attorney who works with either labor unions or corporations. You can also become a labor law attorney responsible for overseeing the creation and enforcement of employment policies.

Law books.
Law books.

The first step toward a career as a labor law expert is to finish your law degree. You can spend your undergraduate years studying history, political science, and communications to develop legal skills. It is important to locate a law school that has a labor law emphasis within its curriculum. Your legal education can include elective courses in contracts, labor history, and employment law. Your law school may house publications about labor law that accept articles from law students.

A law degree is a requirement for becoming a labor law attorney.
A law degree is a requirement for becoming a labor law attorney.

As you work to become a labor law attorney, you can get experience in a specialized field with an externship in your third year of law school. An externship with a local labor attorney can provide insights into the challenges within this profession. You might be able to find an externship with a labor union that needs assistance with contract negotiations and lawsuits, or your interest may lead you to work in the legal department of a corporation with a sizable unionized workforce.

Your work as a labor law attorney may lead you toward a job with a labor union. Every labor union works with at least one attorney during contract negotiations and arbitration. You may be asked to assess the legality of a proposed strike based on corporate policies and federal law. A majority of your work with a labor union will likely involve keeping the organization compliant with laws regulating union activities.

Another option as you become a labor law attorney is to work as a lawyer with a corporation. You might be asked to speak with new employees about the legal limitations of union organizing in the workplace. Your employer may also ask you to attend arbitration hearings to speak on behalf of the company.

You might also become a labor law attorney with a regional or national government agency. Your work within a national labor department could require legal research and public presentations about labor law changes. You can get involved in the creation of employment and labor laws as a legal aide to a legislative committee dealing with commerce.

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