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Education Law

A Guide To Become A Labor Lawyer In The US

| September 16, 2023

Labor law is constantly evolving within the United States as it is a highly contested area of law. The US Supreme Court is widely observed for its capacity to make routine rulings that are groundbreaking for the field. 

As the workplace is a place where disputes tend to occur, and questions related to fairness tend to loom largely, lawsuits are pretty common within the workplace. A single lawsuit can heavily impact the overall well-being of employees and employers based on the rulings. 

In this article, we will be discussing the ways one can become a labor lawyer in the US. 

What Is Labor Law?

Labor law is legislation defining responsibilities and rights in employment, particularly the responsibilities of an employer and the rights of the employee. Laws differ amongst jurisdictions. 

Protection of employee rights begins with fair hiring practices. By law, an employer cannot lead a background check or credit check on an applicant without their written permission. It is also illegal for an employer to discriminate against an applicant because of their race, age, religion, or country of origin. 

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are not allowed to discriminate against a potential employee with any disability unless it makes them incapable of completing tasks related to the job. 

Employees are also known to have the right to privacy of their possessions on the job, as well as phone conversations and voicemail. However, communications done within company-owned equipment might not be protected. 

As the workplace has become more mobile and off-hours communications are not a rare sight, some jurisdictions are enacting or exploring the right to disconnect legislation that prevents employees from responding to communications outside of working hours. 

What Does A Labor Lawyer Do?

Labor law is a division of employment law; due to this, labor laws tend to represent both employees and employers in negotiations and disputes. However, labor laws tend to focus specifically on industries having labor unions and their specific rules and regulations. This means labor lawyers tend to work in industries associated with teachers, policemen, bus drivers, and many others. 

Labor lawyers are often observed to represent members of labor unions in cases against employers and strike negotiations, as well as employers in cases against employees. 

How To Become A Labor Lawyer?

Becoming a labor lawyer in the USA requires a combination of education, training, and experience. Labor laws, also known as employment lawyers or employment law attorneys, specialize in legal matters related to labor and employment laws. 

Here are the steps to becoming a labor lawyer in the USA:

Educational Requirements

  • Undergraduate Degree

Start by earning a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as political science, pre-law, labor relations, or sociology. There is no specific undergraduate major required, but courses in labor law, employment law, and related areas can be beneficial.

Law School Admission

Take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test): You will need to take the LSAT and achieve a competitive score to gain admission to law school.

Apply to Law Schools: Research and apply to ABA (American Bar Association) accredited law schools. Consider the schools’ programs and reputation for labor and employment law.

Law School Education

  • Complete a Juris Doctor (JD) Program 

Law school typically takes three years to complete. During this time, you’ll study various aspects of the law, including labor and employment law. Take courses in labor law, employment law, employment discrimination, labor relations, and related subjects.

  • Participate in Externships or Internships 

Many law schools offer externship or internship programs that allow you to gain practical experience in labor law firms or government agencies.

Pass the Bar Exam

After graduating from law school, you must pass the bar exam in the state where you intend to practice. Each state has its own bar exam, and the requirements and pass rates vary.

Gain Experience

To become a successful labor lawyer, you’ll need practical experience. Consider working for law firms that specialize in labor and employment law or government agencies that deal with labor issues. This experience will help you build a strong foundation in the field.

Consider Specialization

As you gain experience, you may want to specialize in a particular area of labor law, such as union representation, employment discrimination, wage and hour laws, or workplace safety regulations.


Networking is essential in the legal field. Attend labor law conferences and seminars, and join professional organizations like the American Bar Association’s Section of Labor and Employment Law. Networking can help you connect with experienced attorneys and potential clients.

Continuing Education

Labor and employment laws are subject to change. Stay updated on the latest developments by attending continuing legal education (CLE) courses and reading relevant legal publications.

Get Licensed and Certified

Some states may require additional licenses or certifications for labor lawyers. Check the requirements in your state and fulfill them as necessary.

Build Your Practice

After gaining experience, consider building your own practice or becoming a partner in a law firm specializing in labor law. This may involve marketing your services, handling cases, and managing clients.

Remember that becoming a labor lawyer is a competitive and demanding process. It requires dedication, hard work, and a commitment to staying informed about changes in labor and employment law. Additionally, the specific requirements and steps may vary by state, so it’s essential to research and adhere to the regulations in your jurisdiction.

How Much Does A Labor Lawyer Cost?

Most labor lawyers tend to charge an hourly rate, which entirely depends on the location, experience of the attorney, and reasons you are suing your employer. Many labor lawyers will be charging you an hourly rate for handling a labor case if their client is the employer. The average cost for a labor lawyer to sue an employer costs around $200 to $650 per hour. 

A contingent fee arrangement is best for employees who want to sue their employers but cannot afford to pay a lawyer by the hour. 

Final Thoughts 

Now, you have a fair idea regarding the job role of a labor lawyer and ways to become one while being in the US. Becoming a labor lawyer can be fulfilling if you are in a field that is constantly changing and aims to be a force for employees who tend to face injustice from their employers. 

I hope you have found this article informative and helpful, and do share your thoughts on your aim of becoming a labor lawyer in the future.

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nilanjana basu
nilanjana basu

Nilanjana is a lawyer with a flair for writing. She has a certification in American Laws from Penn Law (Pennsylvania University). Along with this, she has been known to write legal articles that allow the audience to know about American laws and regulations at ease.


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