Interested in the world of law? There are several different segments that fall within that umbrella. One of them is working within the employment sector. Employment attorneys advise both employees and employers on the legal standards set by local, state, or federal government. The basis of their work is to ensure that all employees are treated fairly under the standards of the law, doing so consistently.
If you are curious about the law and have a passion for standing up for people’s rights and fair treatment, a career as an employment attorney may be right for you. Employees are oftentimes fearful to represent themselves and protect their freedoms in the face of an employer due to possible retaliation or loss of income.
With lawyers for employee and consumer rights on their side, employees feel empowered to pursue legal action and get the compensation and treatment they deserve.
Employment Attorney Job Duties
An employment attorney’s day-to-day job duties vary depending on if they are based in the public or private sector and as well as the size of the firm or company they are working for.
Some common job duties for an employment attorney include:
- Litigating employment cases such as wrongful termination, discrimination and wage/hour affairs.
- Handling of transactional and litigation employment matters for both public and private companies.
- Handling employment jury and/or court trials.
- Drafting employment documents, such as employment contracts, company handbooks, or severance agreements.
An employment attorney’s basic fundamental job duty is to interpret and offer advice on a wide range of employment laws, such as:
- Wage and hour laws
- Workplace safety
- Rest break laws
- Disability leave laws
- Workplace harassment and discrimination
- Employee discrimination
- Wrongful discharge
- Privacy violations
- Failure to provide medical leave
- Independent contractor laws
The employment attorney field is fast-paced and rigorous. Expect long hours and hard work and dedication. The payoff is knowing you help a party stand up for their rights and earn the treatment they deserve.
If you are interested in pursuing a career as an employment attorney, you must go through the proper educational courses to gain the knowledge and background that makes you a qualified candidate in the eyes of employers.
Employment attorneys hold bachelor’s degrees as well as law degrees. Recommended undergraduate majors include government, economics, and English. You must attend law school and take coursework centered on contracts, legal writing, professional responsibility, and labor laws.
After completing a law degree and earning your Juris Doctor (J.D.), employment attorneys must pass a state bar examination for the state where they intend to practice.
Most attorneys work full time in private, corporate, or government offices and work long hours. Wherever they are employed, it is important they stay on top of ever-changing labor laws and regulations. There are several research tools available in the law sector that place updates and information at attorneys’ fingertips.
What are some skills that a successful employment attorney possesses?
- Verbal and written communication
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to interpret laws and regulations
- Passion for words and people
Employment Attorney Salary, Outlook, Statistics
So you’ve decided to take on a career as an employment attorney. Before you enroll in the coursework, it is important to understand the expected salary, employment statistics, and projected career outlook for employment in your field.
In regards to job outlook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has stated that lawyers across all specializations could expect an 8% increase in employment openings from 2016-2026, which is close to the national average for all occupations.
You can expect your salary to be above the $100,000 a year range. In fact, in 2018, all lawyers earned a median salary of $120,910.
It is important to note that experience is integral to a career as an employment attorney. Most firms and companies require at least five years of experience working in law before they are willing to hire. Thus, in the midst of your studies or between graduation and employment, take on as many apprenticeships, shadowing gigs, and internships as you can in order to give you that hands-on experience that is coveted by employers.
Other possible career paths that individuals with an interest in labor law look into include:
- Hearing officers
Some major cities hiring employment attorneys in the United States include:
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- Washington, D.C.
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