Jump to content
LawSchoolJock

Are Employment Law and Contract Law part of Big Law?

Recommended Posts

Would law students/lawyers on this site be able to provide any insight as to wether or not these practice areas would be part of a large 'Big law' firm? I know that my interests may change once I start law school, but I'll be paying my own tuition and living expenses so I'd like to get a better idea of the risk/rewards of this course of action. 

Edited by LawSchoolJock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@LawSchoolJock Employment and labour law is a really diverse area of practice (as diverse as the array of people and companies who are 'employers' and 'workers'). You can work in Big Law, focusing primarily on employer-side issues and executive compensation. You can work in boutiques that focus exclusively on labour and employment law, working for unions, employers, individual employees, or some combination. You can be in-house counsel for a union or large company. You can work for legal clinics who primarily service low-income individuals or marginalized communities.      Etc. Etc. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ghoulzrulez Thank you I searched "employment law firms" online and got some really mixed results so I figured I would bring it to the forum. Do you work in the field? I would love to ask you some questions via PM if you do

Edited by LawSchoolJock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As employment is already well covered, I would comment that "Contract law" is too fundamental/broad to really be it's own practice area. Instead, most practice areas will rely heavily on a firm grasp of contracts. 

You should also be aware that the boundaries between areas of law are not well defined and is often just a convenient way to digest the information. Is a case of sexual harassment at work employment law? Human Rights? Contracts? It probably implicates all of these areas and more. 

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, LawSchoolJock said:

Would law students/lawyers on this site be able to provide any insight as to wether or not these practice areas would be part of a large 'Big law' firm? I know that my interests may change once I start law school, but I'll be paying my own tuition and living expenses so I'd like to get a better idea of the risk/rewards of this course of action. 

For labour law, firms usually split between union and management. Union-side wouldn't quite be big law -- they tend to be structured as somewhat specialized boutiques. There's a bigger emphasis on fit and demonstrated interest in union-side firms than for big law in general. But the compensation and workplace environment is pretty similar. Management firms can be labour boutiques or might be part of a general, full service firm. I guess in-house is a thing for both, too.

For employment (i.e., employment standards, wrongful dismissal, etc), there's a lot of variety. As in, everything from legal clinics, to sole practitioners, to massive firms. 

Edited by realpseudonym
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heck, you can even did what I did and go into a labour relations professional role after practicing for a few years. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Mal said:

As employment is already well covered, I would comment that "Contract law" is too fundamental/broad to really be it's own practice area. Instead, most practice areas will rely heavily on a firm grasp of contracts. 

You should also be aware that the boundaries between areas of law are not well defined and is often just a convenient way to digest the information. Is a case of sexual harassment at work employment law? Human Rights? Contracts? It probably implicates all of these areas and more. 

 

Ok thank you for pointing this out. One of the biggest problems I have when looking up different types jobs/firms that come with a law degree is that I don't even know all the different categories that the different types of legal work fall under. 

So in your opinion can lawyers practice as a contract lawyer? Or is a firm understanding of contracts just required in all aspects of the law?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Adrian said:

Heck, you can even did what I did and go into a labour relations professional role after practicing for a few years. 

Interesting, care to elaborate? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, LawSchoolJock said:

So in your opinion can lawyers practice as a contract lawyer? Or is a firm understanding of contracts just required in all aspects of the law?

This is, IDK, a bit of a weird way to think about it. Labour and employment both deal with a contractual relationship, insofar as the relationship is governed by the collective bargaining agreement and the employment contract (either written or not), respectively. Practicing L&E law means that you're constantly dealing with those contracts, and you're gonna have to be able to draft them, understand them, advise on them, and litigate on the contractual language if necessary.

But like, you can't really just understand contracts in general. They're the basic material you're working with. It would be like asking, do criminal defence lawyers need to be able to use disclosure? Well, yeah. That's the evidence you're dealing with a lot of the time, but you're not either good at disclosure or bad with disclosure. You learn the law and then work on the specific facts arising in each situation from that point on. That's what you'll be doing with contracts. 

Edited by realpseudonym
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one is called “a contract lawyer”. There are many ways to subdivide transactional law - mergers & acquisitions, public securities transactions, financing, etc - that will involve drafting contracts. But so too would being an employment lawyer...with employment contracts.

If you’re trying to build a mental map of what kinds of lawyers exist, it’s more helpful to think of what states, people and businesses do (regulate behavior, have employment, buy houses, make and receive investments, etc) and ask what kind of lawyer helps with which tasks, rather than to ask if 1L classes translate into being specific jobs. The former is how the world behaves, the latter just school.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Contract law" is ... labour/employment law, commercial law, M&A, insurance, real estate, securitization, financing, incorporating,banking, PPSA, family, criminal. There are virtually no lawyers who will not be called on to draft a contract or give an opinion on the effect of a contract.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, LawSchoolJock said:

Interesting, care to elaborate? 

Hard to elaborate more. I am no longer a practicing lawyer. Rather I am in a HR leadership role focusing on labour relations in the broader public sector. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

No one is called “a contract lawyer”. There are many ways to subdivide transactional law - mergers & acquisitions, public securities transactions, financing, etc - that will involve drafting contracts. But so too would being an employment lawyer...with employment contracts.

If you’re trying to build a mental map of what kinds of lawyers exist, it’s more helpful to think of what states, people and businesses do (regulate behavior, have employment, buy houses, make and receive investments, etc) and ask what kind of lawyer helps with which tasks, rather than to ask if 1L classes translate into being specific jobs. The former is how the world behaves, the latter just school.

Might be a stupid question, but what about litigators? It seems to me, from what I've read here at least, that barristers are more generalist and are just referred to as working in "litigation" or "civil litigation".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My exposure to litigators is all in a big law context. The only contractual drafting I’ve seen in that end of things is settlement agreements and related agreements parties enter into concluding litigation. Generally speaking, a transactional practitioner is usually asked to help. I don’t know if that’s the norm though - pretty far afield from what I do day to day. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Litigators fight over what contracts mean all the time. And draft settlements, waivers, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

My exposure to litigators is all in a big law context. The only contractual drafting I’ve seen in that end of things is settlement agreements and related agreements parties enter into concluding litigation. Generally speaking, a transactional practitioner is usually asked to help. I don’t know if that’s the norm though - pretty far afield from what I do day to day. 

 

10 hours ago, Jaggers said:

Litigators fight over what contracts mean all the time. And draft settlements, waivers, etc.

Sorry, what I meant to ask is whether litigators are subdivided by specializations similar to transactional lawyers. I ask because you hear about all kinds of different groups on the transactional side of a full service law firm, but when speaking about litigators people generally just say "litigation department".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Cheech said:

 

Sorry, what I meant to ask is whether litigators are subdivided by specializations similar to transactional lawyers. I ask because you hear about all kinds of different groups on the transactional side of a full service law firm, but when speaking about litigators people generally just say "litigation department".

Seconded! I'd also be curious to hear an answer on this.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...