Jump to content
LawSchoolJock

Are Employment Law and Contract Law part of Big Law?

Recommended Posts

1 minute 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".

There is less specialization among litigators in terms of the areas of law you work on, because your specialization is in the rules of civil procedure, and written and oral advocacy. But there is some specialization. Big firm commercial lawyers spend a lot of time on contract disputes, as do employment lawyers, insurance coverage lawyers, etc. 

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


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

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

Lit is more general, but you will likely find that many litigators end up practicing in distinct areas anyway simply because that’s where they become comfortable, or well known. 

Some areas of law require more specialization (tax for example, IP is another) and are distinct from other areas of lit in the sense that most lawyers can’t practice tax lit because it requires specific knowledge. Many full-service firms may not even have lawyers who practice in these specialty areas and refer that kind of work outside. 

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours 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?

On a basic level, 'law' can arise from several sources: common law (law derived by custom and court decisions), contract law (what the parties agreed to in the particular circumstances), and statute (legislation that imposes various obligations and entitlements on parties). 

In the majority of areas of practice, you will be dealing with some combination of these various sources of law and will need to have a good grasp of all of them - which is likely the reason that no one is a "contract lawyer" per se. 

For example, if you practice employment and labour law in Ontario, you will become familiar with the Employment Standards Act, Human Rights Code, Occupational Health and Safety Act, etc. which provide some basic rules governing employment relationships, many of which cannot be opted out of. You will become accustomed to preparing, reviewing, and interpreting the terms of individual employment contracts, collective agreements, restrictive covenants, policies, etc. You will also keep up to date on court decisions, which can impact how pieces of legislation are applied, how contracts and their provisions will be interpreted, what outcomes a client can expect when the employment relationship turns sour, and even who is considered an 'employee' or 'employer'. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Jaggers said:

There is less specialization among litigators in terms of the areas of law you work on, because your specialization is in the rules of civil procedure, and written and oral advocacy. But there is some specialization. Big firm commercial lawyers spend a lot of time on contract disputes, as do employment lawyers, insurance coverage lawyers, etc. 

Pretty much this. Though there is some sub-specialization within the narrow bounds of the rules of civil procedure themselves, i.e. you will find class action lawyers (like one of the forum's favourite moderators) who specialize in that area of civil procedure. Even further still, some of those class action lawyers will themselves specialize in , e.g., product liability.

In Canada, there's way less specialization than in the U.S., even in transactional practice, so specialization may just mean a significant or large part of the practice, without being all of it. So there are litigators who are experts in environmental law, aboriginal law, defamation law, etc. while also being experts in civil procedure. There are also other forums of law that come with their own unique aspects of civil procedure and/or dominating statutes that inherently lead to specialization of a kind, like insolvency lawyers and construction litigators.

There's also insurance practice which is its own sort of beast and a specialty of its own. Also family law practitioners are litigators and that is again its own thing.

Edited by Rashabon
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Jaggers said:

"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.

I view drafting/reviewing contracts as a legal skill, like research and writing, that every lawyer should know how to do. 

Edited by azure
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/26/2020 at 9:09 AM, 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".

It really depends on the firm. At a large, full-service firm, they probably have a general "litigation" department - though individual lawyers may have their own specialties within industries or types of litigation (e.g. class actions or securities litigation, or the technology or oil/gas or transportation sectors). At a large litigation boutique, you might have more structured practice areas by type of litigation (e.g. commercial litigation, insurance defence). Then you may have more specialized litigation boutiques (e.g. a securities litigation firm, or an insurance defence firm).

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 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...