Union-side Labor Law

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TTH
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Union-side Labor Law

Postby TTH » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:46 am

Quick question: does anyone have any sense of what union-side L&E work pays? I know most firms that do it are smaller firms that do a mix of that as well as personal injury work and what not. I have a background that qualifies me well for L&E work, but I don't know if I want to do it, and I certainly don't want to do plaintiff's side tort work.

Thoughts anyone?

2LLLL
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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby 2LLLL » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:38 pm

My buddy's dad does this practice in DC. I recall my buddy saying he pays new associates ~$70k

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:09 pm

The pay is ~60K for new associates at the firm I work at. Almost exclusively labor-side union work. Not sure how the raises are implemented.

Renzo
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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby Renzo » Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:13 pm

You're never going to get rich, but it pays; if you have the resume to get yourself a job. THe GC's offices of the big unions/federations pay decently. The big labor side firms like Altshuler Berzon, Bredhoff & Kaiser, etc. will probably get you about $60-70k to start with some room for growth.

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby 2LLLL » Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:17 pm

60-70k is it for Altshuler Berzon? It looked like all of their attorneys were T6 grads with most having CoA clerkships...

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby Renzo » Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:20 pm

2LLLL wrote:60-70k is it for Altshuler Berzon? It looked like all of their attorneys were T6 grads with most having CoA clerkships...

Yep. I worked in a union GC's office last summer, and out of roughly 30 attorneys (not counting temporary fellows), there were 3 Supreme Court clerks. Folks don't take those jobs for the money, but if you can get one you won't starve.

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby 2LLLL » Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:34 pm

Yep. I worked in a union GC's office last summer, and out of roughly 30 attorneys (not counting temporary fellows), there were 3 Supreme Court clerks. Folks don't take those jobs for the money, but if you can get one you won't starve.


Wow- yeah I'd assume someone who is into that type of law isn't focused on the financials, but you're leaving almost $150k on the table by going there after a CoA clerkship as opposed to going to a top-market paying firm- that's pretty admirable...

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby Renzo » Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:41 pm

2LLLL wrote:
Yep. I worked in a union GC's office last summer, and out of roughly 30 attorneys (not counting temporary fellows), there were 3 Supreme Court clerks. Folks don't take those jobs for the money, but if you can get one you won't starve.


Wow- yeah I'd assume someone who is into that type of law isn't focused on the financials, but you're leaving almost $150k on the table by going there after a CoA clerkship as opposed to going to a top-market paying firm- that's pretty admirable...


If you come from the Supreme Court to one of these jobs, you aren't making entry wages; but yes, the people who get these jobs generally could have had any type of job they wanted. This is why prestigious and/or decent-paying public interest jobs are not a fallback for those that miss the biglaw boat.

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:50 am

The range is between $40K to low $70Ks starting since the field is almost exclusively small firms. In DC, most of the firms and union GCs try to align their entry level pay with the federal government (GS-9 to 11). I know one firm in NYC that goes with the same pay scale as Legal Services; I forgot what the starting pay was exactly except that it seemed shockingly low for for a firm in Manhattan when I heard the number. This is just entry-level associate figures though, I'm not sure what partners top out at.

TTH wrote:I certainly don't want to do plaintiff's side tort work.


What do you think "personal injury work" is?

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DreamsInDigital
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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby DreamsInDigital » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:52 am

Hope I am not hijacking the thread too much, but do any of you have a sense of how difficult it is to get these small firm/in-house jobs?

Going to be starting at a T30 in the fall, have 4 years of union organizing under my belt. What sort of GPA/summer jobs/internships should I be aiming for if this is what I want to do?

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby TTH » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:15 am

DreamsInDigital wrote:Hope I am not hijacking the thread too much, but do any of you have a sense of how difficult it is to get these small firm/in-house jobs?

Going to be starting at a T30 in the fall, have 4 years of union organizing under my belt. What sort of GPA/summer jobs/internships should I be aiming for if this is what I want to do?


Take a long look at interning for the NLRB. A lot of unions also have summer legal internship programs at the international level, but they typically don't lead to a job after graduation.

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby polaris769 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:40 am

Renzo wrote:
2LLLL wrote:
Yep. I worked in a union GC's office last summer, and out of roughly 30 attorneys (not counting temporary fellows), there were 3 Supreme Court clerks. Folks don't take those jobs for the money, but if you can get one you won't starve.


Wow- yeah I'd assume someone who is into that type of law isn't focused on the financials, but you're leaving almost $150k on the table by going there after a CoA clerkship as opposed to going to a top-market paying firm- that's pretty admirable...


If you come from the Supreme Court to one of these jobs, you aren't making entry wages; but yes, the people who get these jobs generally could have had any type of job they wanted. This is why prestigious and/or decent-paying public interest jobs are not a fallback for those that miss the biglaw boat.



This hasn't been my experience at all. I'm pretty sure Bredhoff Kaiser pays 125k to entering associates, and I know a few firms and GCO offices that hire interns for full time positions, so not all of the lawyers are former Supreme Court clerks.

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby Renzo » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:15 pm

polaris769 wrote:
This hasn't been my experience at all. I'm pretty sure Bredhoff Kaiser pays 125k to entering associates, and I know a few firms and GCO offices that hire interns for full time positions, so not all of the lawyers are former Supreme Court clerks.


What hasn't been your experience? That union jobs don't pay six figures? That literally every union lawyer isn't a former supreme court clerk?

I don't know what Bredhoff pays, but if it's that high for first-years, it's unique. As for union GCOs, there are a few (SEIU and AFL/CIO for sure, maybe more) that hire new grads into 1-2 year fellowships, and occasionally those turn into full-time jobs--but not in the majority of cases. The SEIU's fellowship pays something in the neighborhood of $55k, and as it's the richest union around (by a good margin), I can't see the others paying much more to new grads.

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby polaris769 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:11 pm

Renzo, I believe you make some misplaced generalizations, that's all. To say that a firm like Bredhoff Kaiser pays between 60-70k is extreme misinformation especially since, as you admit, you do not know their starting salary for first years, but was simply generalizing.

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby Renzo » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:26 pm

polaris769 wrote:Renzo, I believe you make some misplaced generalizations, that's all. To say that a firm like Bredhoff Kaiser pays between 60-70k is extreme misinformation especially since, as you admit, you do not know their starting salary for first years, but was simply generalizing.


I have been speaking in generalities, and I stand by them. I've never claimed to know what every union-side labor law firm pays, but I do know what many of them pay, having worked in some and turned down offers from others. There may be outliers, and if you say Bredhoff is one of them, I believe you; but it doesn't really change what the average job applicant should expect prospectively.

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Labor lawyer's response

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:01 pm

Here are the only salary stats that I've been been able to find for Bredhoff Kaiser-
http://www.infirmation.com/shared/lss/o ... _id=DC0320

The site doesn't say who the source of those figures is, so the chart might not be accurate. If those figures were correct at that time, I doubt that entry level salary has since gone up from $91K to $125K. Regardless, I'll back up Renzo's point that Bredhoff is an outlier. The fact that BK is in DC, counsel to many national unions (which will pay more than firms with primarily local unions as their client base), and BK's reputation as the appellate/SCOTUS specialist for union-side firms are some of the reasons for the firm being outside of the normal salary range for union-side work. Consider them the "BigLaw" of union-side employers, if you will.

I (post #9) was the one who wrote the $40-70K range. I came up with that average range based on information from the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, my employment with another firm in DC (similar to BK) that starts at $70K, and associates that I know from union-side firms in NYC, Boston, Chicago, DC, IN and OH. If you want to find out GC/in-house salaries, you can find actual salaries by going through LM-2 forms on the DOL's website.

DreamsInDigital wrote:Hope I am not hijacking the thread too much, but do any of you have a sense of how difficult it is to get these small firm/in-house jobs? What sort of GPA/summer jobs/internships should I be aiming for if this is what I want to do?


These jobs are hard to get, but not necessarily in the same sense as more traditional firm hiring. The biggest obstacle is simply that the jobs are hard to find since many are filled by word of mouth rather than public job postings. Entry-level opportunities are particularly hard to come by since, unlike large corporate firms, most unions/boutiques don't have great resources for training. Traditionally, most union-side lawyers either came from clerkships or government employment (i.e. NLRB) which aren't easy to get either. There's been a small increase in hiring directly from law school, but not much.

In union-side hiring, grades aren't as much of a primary factor. Some employers won't even bother asking for transcripts. Evidence of "commitment to the labor movement," great writing samples, and oral communication skills are also heavily weighed. However, since it's easier to get these jobs after some other legal employment, this shouldn't be an excuse to let your academics slide.

As far as internships, the most prestigious are the Peggy Browning Fellowships. http://www.peggybrowningfund.org Good alternatives include plaintiff-side employment boutiques, legal services (especially those with Employment Units), and employment-related non-profits like the National Employment Law Project.

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TTH
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Re: Labor lawyer's response

Postby TTH » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I (post #9) was the one who wrote the $40-70K range. I came up with that average range based on information from the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, my employment with another firm in DC (similar to BK) that starts at $70K, and associates that I know from union-side firms in NYC, Boston, Chicago, DC, IN and OH. If you want to find out GC/in-house salaries, you can find actual salaries by going through LM-2 forms on the DOL's website. .



I'd be interested in hearing more about the market for this in Ohio. If you're game to share specifics, PM me.

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby DreamsInDigital » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:59 am

whoever the anonymous user was, thanks. That's some really useful information. I'd be interested to hear a little more about your experience, especially if you've dealt at all with any of the larger national unions. What type of work you've done, how you've liked it, have you seen anything that you were not cool with.

if you'd like to answer, post in here or pm me. thanks again.

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memphisbelle
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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby memphisbelle » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:08 pm

Hi,

This is relevant to my interests as well. Does anyone have experience with aviation labor law or any of the larger unions in that area? ALPA/AFA? Someone mentioned the NLRB, but do you know if there are programs that have internships for the NMB? Do you know where some of the larger private firms recruit from primarily? I know Cornell is quite strong for labor relations. Anywhere else?

Sorry if these questions have been answered before. I'm just getting started researching schools and programs.

Thanks,
MB

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TTH
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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby TTH » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:26 pm

memphisbelle wrote:Hi,

This is relevant to my interests as well. Does anyone have experience with aviation labor law or any of the larger unions in that area? ALPA/AFA? Someone mentioned the NLRB, but do you know if there are programs that have internships for the NMB? Do you know where some of the larger private firms recruit from primarily? I know Cornell is quite strong for labor relations. Anywhere else?

Sorry if these questions have been answered before. I'm just getting started researching schools and programs.

Thanks,
MB


Cornell's sort of the BSD in the field, especially if you do the joint degree MLIA program. Alternatively, schools with strong ADR programs (and working with well known ADR faculty) will be a plus. I don't know about T14s when it comes to ADR, but Ohio State is typically regarded as the first or second best school in the country for ADR.

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memphisbelle
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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby memphisbelle » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:27 pm

Yay! Go Bucks. :)

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:33 pm

TTH wrote:Quick question: does anyone have any sense of what union-side L&E work pays? I know most firms that do it are smaller firms that do a mix of that as well as personal injury work and what not. I have a background that qualifies me well for L&E work, but I don't know if I want to do it, and I certainly don't want to do plaintiff's side tort work.

Thoughts anyone?


stroock and proskauer rose have strong union-side labor and employment practices. i'm currently a SA at stroock and 50% of my work so far has come from the L&E group.

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby 2LLLL » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:23 pm

I don't know Renzo, obviously you know a lot more about this field than I do, but from what I've heard from my friend about his dad's firm, I have trouble believing that firms pulling SCOTUS and COA clerks are paying that low. My friend's dad is ex-NLRB, and his firm has I think just 5-6 attorneys, the name is literally "[My friend's last name] & Associates." They don't even have a website. If this guy's single digit attorney operation, which certainly hasn't even sniffed anyone from a prestigious clerkship and hired its last associate from I believe Catholic, is starting at $70k in DC, I highly doubt that Altshuler is starting at $65k in SF. Stranger things have happened though, so who knows...

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
TTH wrote:Quick question: does anyone have any sense of what union-side L&E work pays? I know most firms that do it are smaller firms that do a mix of that as well as personal injury work and what not. I have a background that qualifies me well for L&E work, but I don't know if I want to do it, and I certainly don't want to do plaintiff's side tort work.

Thoughts anyone?


stroock and proskauer rose have strong union-side labor and employment practices. i'm currently a SA at stroock and 50% of my work so far has come from the L&E group.


Fail. Those are corporate firms!

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Re: Union-side Labor Law

Postby Renzo » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
stroock and proskauer rose have strong union-side labor and employment practices. i'm currently a SA at stroock and 50% of my work so far has come from the L&E group.


Fail. Those are corporate firms!


Yes, and they have union-side clients.

I don't know Renzo, obviously you know a lot more about this field than I do, but from what I've heard from my friend about his dad's firm, I have trouble believing that firms pulling SCOTUS and COA clerks are paying that low. My friend's dad is ex-NLRB, and his firm has I think just 5-6 attorneys, the name is literally "[My friend's last name] & Associates." They don't even have a website. If this guy's single digit attorney operation, which certainly hasn't even sniffed anyone from a prestigious clerkship and hired its last associate from I believe Catholic, is starting at $70k in DC, I highly doubt that Altshuler is starting at $65k in SF. Stranger things have happened though, so who knows...


To be clear, I'm not saying that the former clerks and politicians in the office were making $50-70k (they were making six figures, but still not a fortune). I'm saying that's what the new grads can expect to be making.

As I said above, the SEIU fellows make about $55k a year, and that's a good entry-level gig. But for a reference point, I just googled to see what Craig Becker declared when he took the NLRB appointment, and he was being paid a little over $141k/yr. That's about typical in my experience for someone with a reputation and some real skill in the field.




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