Employment lawyers are responsible for safeguarding both the employer and employees. These professionals represent companies in employment-related lawsuits, draft employment contracts and ensure employees’ rights are upheld under local labor laws. Employment lawyers can specialize in one area of law or work as part of a legal team on a variety of different cases.
“The biggest downside is that for litigators there is no such thing as a typical day,” says Jim McElhaney, an attorney who specializes in Labor & Employment Law at Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta, Georgia. “In litigation you’re always firefighting – trying to put out the next crisis.”
To qualify as a legal representative, a bachelor’s degree is required before entering a law school to study at the graduate level. Employment lawyers find employment in law firms, corporations and government agencies.
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Employment law attorneys may represent organizations or employees (and sometimes both). They are skilled at applying the facts of a situation to existing statutes so they can offer guidance to resolve disputes. This area is also called labor law.
Typical duties of employment lawyers include: Advise employers about state and federal requirements regarding wages and hours Work closely with human resources departments to ensure all employee handbooks comply with current standards Draft documents such as separation agreements for business executives Draft non-compete and confidentiality agreements for employees Prepare employment reference letters Conduct investigations on wage and hour claims by current or former employees
There is a growing demand for employment lawyers in most major cities, and particularly in large law firms. Generally, employers who hire work with top-tier legal professionals to make sure they are compliant with the ever-changing state and federal laws.