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Author Topic: Anyone know of any schools that have strong labor law departments?  (Read 1050 times)

eric922

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I've always been a supporter of labor unions and I'm thinking I might like to go into labor law representing unions and workers and I was just wondering if anyone knew of any schools that had strong programs geared toward that?

livinglegend

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Re: Anyone know of any schools that have strong labor law departments?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2012, 05:51:53 PM »
Realistically no schools focus on any particularly area of the law. Your first year at any ABA school will be contracts, torts, civil procedure, property, criminal law, constitutional law, criminal procedure, and legal writing. Or some variation on that and you will take the remaining ones in second year. Then evidence, wills & trusts, corporations, trial advocacy will likely be required or highly suggested. Then you will have 20 or so units left.

Some schools may offer an employment and labor law class. Some may also offer a clinic or two at most and you can see this on the course schedules of any schools your into, but no school will focus on labor/employment law completely. ABA schools have to follow ABA guidelines and that consists of the courses listed above.

Hope that is helpful.

RobWreck

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Re: Anyone know of any schools that have strong labor law departments?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012, 11:58:43 AM »
While Legend is correct that "no school will focus on labor/employment law completely," some schools do have more labor offerings than others. St. John's has a Center for Labor & Employment law that draws top speakers and practitioners (I've heard Richard Trumka & Wilma Liebman speak at various SJU events). You can find out a little more about the program here...

http://www.stjohns.edu/academics/graduate/law/academics/centers/laboremployment

Hofstra University has a well-known Labor & Employment Law journal, but I have no familiarity with their actual program...

Alternately, as your interest is in representing unions and workers, take a look at the Peggy Browning Fund's website here...

http://www.peggybrowningfund.org/

The schools that regularly have Peggy Browning Fellows may be considered as ones that have a stronger emphasis on labor & employment law. I know that my experience as a PBF was very rewarding and I credit SJU in part for my selection as 1 of the 50 fellows selected for Summer '10. In '09, SJU students recieved 4 of those 50 fellowships.

But Legend raises another good point when he says that you can judge a school's commitment to labor & employment law by reviewing their course offerings. Some schools offer just the basic 'Labor Law' class. Others (like SJU) have more extensive offerings like: (1) Labor Law; (2) Employment Law; (3) Employment Discrimination; (4) Advanced Labor Law; (5) Labor and Employment Arbitration; (6) Public Sector Labor and Employment Law; (7) Pensions and Benefits Law (ERISA)

In short, you have to do your research. My bias shows here, but it is clear that there are schools that have more to offer in the field of labor & employment law.

Good Luck!
Rob
St. John's University School of Law '11
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livinglegend

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Re: Anyone know of any schools that have strong labor law departments?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2012, 04:39:40 PM »
Rob is correct there are some schools that emphasize particular areas more than others as evidenced by the provided links. However, I don't know if it is always the best idea to select a law school based on a specialty program as many OL's realistically have no idea what they want to do. I remember when I started thinking IP law would be great after one elective class in the area I knew it was not for me. Had I moved across the country and paid a lot more money to attend a school with a solid IP program it would not have turned out well.

From your post you stated "I think I might like to go into labor law" if you had some deep passion for a particular area i.e. your friend was unlawfully executed and your passion was to end the death penalty or something then the quality of a specialty program might be appropriate, but if it is an area of law you think might interest you  don't make it a major basis for your decision. You can use it is a factor, but there are a lot of things to consider when choosing a law school. The reality is very few incoming 0L's have any idea what they really want to do since you know very little about the law prior to enrolling and even after law school your interests can change greatly.


RobWreck

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Re: Anyone know of any schools that have strong labor law departments?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2012, 05:20:19 PM »
The reality is very few incoming 0L's have any idea what they really want to do since you know very little about the law prior to enrolling and even after law school your interests can change greatly.

Legend's right again here... what you *think* you want to focus on when applying to law school can easily fall to the wayside once you've been exposed to other fields of law and the opportunities your school provides. Considering the dismal state of organized labor (7% union density in private sector), I would caution against choosing a school on the basis of their labor studies opportunities. Instead, let that be a 'soft factor' in your decision after you've narrowed your choices with the 'hard factors' of job placement and expense. Labor law is a small, specialized field with limited job opportunities, and it's not one of the more lucrative fields (at least not on the union/worker side).
St. John's University School of Law '11
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Maintain FL 350

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Re: Anyone know of any schools that have strong labor law departments?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2012, 03:11:49 PM »
Both of the above posters have given some good advice. I would just add that labor law is a combination of other fields of law: contracts, constitutional, etc. You'll learn those areas of law at any school you attend.

The thing about schools that tout a particular program or concentration is that in reality it usually is comprised of a few classes and maybe the possibility of an internship. For example, if you go to a school that promotes a great environmental law program you'll likely only be able to take three or four of the environmental law classes they offer. This is because law school is loaded with required courses, leaving little time for electives. Also, courses simply aren't offered every semester, and you can't always arrange your schedule to take all the classes you'd like.

My school offered a good choice of entertainment and sports law classes, but I chose take some bar courses like California Civ Pro and Community Property. This of course left less time for other electives.

If SJU, for example, offers a good array of labor law classes that's great. Just understand that law school is not like undergrad, you won't be able to load up on employment/labor classes. Internships with labor organizations are probably just as valuable, if not more.