Labor & Employment Law

Labor and employment law refers to the broad array of laws that govern the relationships between, and the rights and duties of, employers, employees and labor unions.

Labor and Employment Law (LEL) comprises three domains of law and policy: legal doctrine concerning general aspects of the employer-employee relationship (e.g., employment at will, wrongful termination claims grounded in contract and tort law); specific statutory frameworks regulating the individual employment relationship (e.g., employment discrimination law, occupational safety & health law, workers’ compensation, employee benefits law); and laws relating to labor unions and collective bargaining agreements (labor law).

The LEL legal job market demonstrates a consistent, steady demand for lawyers who specialize in the field. Suffolk University Law School has an enduring record of graduates obtaining LEL positions in the private, public, and non-profit sectors, and many have advanced to partnerships in law firms and significant roles in public and non-profit agencies. Common practice settings allowing for specialization in this field include:

  • Law firms of all sizes
  • Labor unions
  • In-house legal departments of corporations
  • Public sector agencies
  • Public interest groups

In addition, issues implicating labor and employment law also often arise in the practices of lawyers who do not specialize in it, including general practitioners, civil litigators, in-house counsel, business lawyers, government and non-profit lawyers, and civil rights lawyers.

Students seeking a basic survey course in the field, with the widest possible application to varied practice settings, should take Employment Law. Those who are interested in pursuing a career in LEL should plan to take each of the "Core Courses” identified below. The courses listed as “Other Relevant Courses" address specific sub-topics of LEL or cover legal concepts, skills, and perspectives that may be relevant to LEL practice.

In addition to this coursework, students who seek to specialize in LEL are strongly advised to obtain externships and summer work experiences to develop their skills and enhance their career prospects. Our students have found semester-long externship and summer positions in this field generally available. Participation in journals (especially writing a Note or Comment on an LEL-related topic) and various advocacy competitions is also strongly encouraged.

Those who wish to discuss course planning and career opportunities in this field are invited to contact Professor David Yamada.