Employment Lawyer Job Description

Employment Law

With the variety of problems and issues that can arise in a diverse workplace, employment lawyers, also called Employment Benefits Lawyers, play a key role assisting both employees and employers alike. There are federal, state and local employment laws in place to assure fair treatment for employees. Due to the existence of these numerous employment laws, employment lawyers typically specialize in only a few areas.

Employees are fortunate today to have these protective laws in place. Labor rights have been developing since the nineteenth century after the Industrial Revolution. Americans today may take these rights for granted. But employment lawyers are experts in the field who seek to uphold them.

Educational Requirements

An employment lawyer type must have a Juris Doctorate degree.  It is preferable and may even be required by employers to have a diploma from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. They must also maintain a valid attorney’s license in that state.

In order to be considered as a candidate for hire, employment lawyers must have one or more years of experience practicing law, preferably employment law. It is difficult to obtain employment law experience when most employers require it for entry. However, working in human resources or personnel departments may improve a lawyer’s initial employability.

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Job Description & Skills Required

Employment lawyers who counsel employees represent them on a variety of issues.

  • Workers’ compensation
  • Termination of employment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Workplace safety
  • Wage and overtime standards
  • Privacy rights
  • Discrimination against employees based on age, ancestry, color, creed, disability, marital status, medical conditions, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.
  • Employee benefits like leaves of absence and retirement plans

They may review employment contracts, advise clients about their employment rights while recommending legal action, mediate between employees and employers, and represent clients in court in civil lawsuits against employers.

They help to bridge the gap between employers and employees through handling legal matters which involve collective bargaining. Those who work directly with employers provide preventative lawyering. They advise employers in creating workplace policies and procedures that are in compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws. This helps minimize conflict and lawsuits by their employees. If necessary, employment lawyers represent employers before government administrative boards or by defending them in state and federal courts.

Employment lawyers should possess a specific skill set to help them excel in their field. They need excellent writing, research and communication skills. Interpersonal and self-management skills help them guide clients and effectively meet deadlines. They must be analytical, creative, persistent, flexible and responsible as well.

Salary and Job Outlook

The average salary of an employment lawyer is $163,770. However, salaries can range anywhere from $66,470 to $208,980.  The highest paid wages come from large national firms located in metropolitan areas. Recent graduates, typically due to their minimal work experience, are the lowest paid.

Employment lawyers have a variety of employment options available to them. They can be employed by private law firms or simply practice alone. They may also work in law departments of private corporations and nonprofit organizations. Some may even work in public interest organizations providing legal services to employees.

The job prospects for employment lawyers are fairly secure on account of the complexity of labor laws in action in the United States. However, budget restrictions may limit the amount of new hires. The majority of job opportunities arise from the replacement of former employment lawyers due to their retirement, resignation or transfer. It is common for employment lawyers to change law firms in order to advance either with higher pay, more prestige or different job responsibilities.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Lawyers reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed April 2023.

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