Employment law is a broad area encompassing all areas of the employer/employee relationship except the negotiation process covered by labor law and collective bargaining. Employment law consists of thousands of Federal and state statutes, administrative regulations, and judicial decisions. Many employment laws (e.g., minimum wage regulations) were enacted as protective labor legislation. Other employment laws take the form of public insurance, such as unemployment compensation.
Labor laws involve equalizing the bargaining power between employers and employees. The laws primarily deal with the relationship between employers and unions. Labor laws grant employees the right to unionize and allows employers and employees to engage in certain activities (e.g. strikes, picketing, seeking injunctions, lockouts) so as to have their demands fulfilled.
Specific areas within the broad category of employment law include: collective bargaining, employment discrimination, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), unemployment compensation, pensions, workplace safety and worker's compensation.
You might enjoy practicing employment or labor law if you:
• are interested in mediation and arbitration;
• would be comfortable working with complex administrative codes ;
• have a passion for working with unions;
• would enjoy advising businesses on best practices regarding the employer/employee relationship.
Pathway to an employment/labor law job
• Explore the Economic Regulation section of the course catalog for employment law, employment discrimination and labor relations and the law.
• Participate in the Workers’ Rights Clinic program.
• Seek out summer employment with unions, such as SEIU, or large businesses with in-house employment law groups.
• Participate in the fall recruiting program; many firms have employment groups, mostly representing employers.
Some of the databases below are password protected. Password information for UW School of Law Students is available on Symplicity in the Documents tab.
Online Directories for Researching Law Firms:
Online Directories for Researching Government Agencies:
Pacific Northwest Regional Firm Lists
Career Fairs are an excellent opportunity to get to know employers. Employers are expecting you to ask questions about job opportunities and the best pathways to working in their company or area of practice. Although these events are billed as recruiting tools, your expectations should be modest. Career fairs sometimes yield opportunities to interview, but are probably best thought of as informational opportunities.
BYU Intercollegiate Job Bank
The Intercollegiate Job Bank is managed by BYU Law School, and provides access to job announcements from many schools around the country.
The CPLD has a bookshelf of resources in Room 346, including the The Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms. CPLD also has lists of smaller Northwest law firms.