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Why I love employment law!

June 29, 2011

Someone recently asked me why I became an employment lawyer.   My answer surprised me a bit.  (And him, too, judging by the forced smile that stayed put during my longer-than-we-both-expected response.)  I hope you’ll indulge me for re-running it below (with modest editorial improvement).

I love employment law.

I love the intellectual challenge of working through an incredibly vast and ever-changing body of regulations impacting interactions in the workplace.

I love the fact that, for most people, work is in the top three of most important areas of their lives.  That’s true whether the client is a small business person, a large company executive, an HR professional, or an individual employee.  I’m constantly humbled that my clients entrust me to help with problems in such an important area, and I’m deeply gratified to help them resolve those problems.

I love that the inevitable disputes are most often about more than just money.  How many commercial contract disputes can you say that about?  Whether it’s an employee fighting for respect and recognition, or an employer insisting on fairness to everyone, these disputes are rarely dry, often quite passionate, and never boring.  Try saying that in an anti-trust case or easement dispute.

I love the people I see on the other side of these cases.  (Well, ahem, let me just say I like most of them and respect the rest; you can’t please all of the people all of the time.)  The lawyers I work against are among the sharpest, most creative advocates I have seen in any substantive field.

I love that juries can understand most of what these cases are about, when they get to trial.  Everybody works, and everybody has had some kind of dispute with someone else at work.  You don’t need too many hired guns to pontificate about standards of care or economics or medical terminology when what you’re talking about is the stuff people already know about.  There’s no expert free case anymore, but juries generally get this stuff when it’s presented right.

I love that this specialty allows me to provide advice to such a broad range of interesting companies.  It’s hard to be a legal generalist anymore, but almost everyone’s got employees.  I get to learn from, and about, so many different kinds of businesses.

I love that I can make a respectable living doing my job helping others do their jobs.

So with my most sincere apologies to Lou Gehrig, today (and most days) I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.  And my sincere thanks to my clients for their past and future confidence.

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