dcsimg

Career Story: Employment Lawyer At A Large Financial Services Company

Employment Lawyer At A Large Financial Services Company

Job Title: Legal Counsel

Education: BA in Sociology and Anthropology, Swarthmore College •• JD, Harvard Law School

Previous Experience: I worked as an associate at a mid- to large-sized Boston law firm in the labor and employment department.

Job Tasks: I work as in-house employment counsel for a large, Boston-based financial services company. I am one of seven employment attorneys in a legal department of 100+ attorneys.

My clients are usually the human resources (HR) personnel of the company. During a typcial day, I field phone calls and e-mails from HR regarding employee and workplace issues, such as offer letters, discipline, leaves of absence, and terminations. I also provide legal support to our security and HR personnel when investigations involve employees. The clients I work with have questions about what the law requires or prohibits. I often need to research the law in others states in order to provide them an answer.

Another part of my job is to provide legal support as we start up new sites in international locations. I work with outside counsel to understand what legal requirements there are related to our personnel in those offices, such as what must be in an employment contract, what obligations does the company have to provide leaves of absence, vacation, overtime pay, etc.

Often the work I do is only quasi-legal in nature. Often I have to provide a combination of legal and business advice in helping my clients come up with creative solutions to doing what they would like to do. I cannot simply tell them what the law says, I must understand what they want to do and then help them figure out how they can achieve the result they want within the requirements of the law.

These days, much of my job is related to reductions in our workforce. This is a very unpleasant part of the work, but requires a great deal of legal support. I assist in preparing agreements for the employees whose jobs are being eliminated to sign in order to receive a severance package and I work with the HR staff to make sure that there is no inadvertent discriminatory impact on any one group of people in the selection for lay-off process.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: What is great about being an employment lawyer is you deal with complex legal puzzles which have a very human element to them. Ultimately, what I do touches people and their jobs and that makes my work feel very real, important and interesting.

No two days are ever alike. Every phone call presents a new and, usually, interesting issue. Often the matters I deal with relate to the bizarre side of human nature. It makes my work very interesting and provides for good anecdotes at parties.

The worst part of my job is that sometimes there is a too much to be done. A lot of what I do is complicated and takes a lot of thought. So, when many people are clamoring for attention to their matters at once, it can be hard to juggle priorities. In this tough economic climate in particular, my hours can get long.

Job Tips:
1. In-house employment counsel positions are few and far between. You need strong credentials. If you are thinking about law school, which school you attend really matters. I recommend taking a prep course for the LSAT (law school entrance test), such as Kaplan. Getting a high LSAT score and getting into a reputable law school will be critical to getting a good legal job.

2. If you are already on the legal path, going to a large law firm can be a very tough life. Hours are long and the work is hard. But, to move to an in-house position (where life is much better), employers will really be looking for big firm experience for at least a few years.

3. To do employment law, you have to really be interested in people and their stories. If the human element appeals to you, employment law is a great choice. If not, definitely seek another area of the law.

Popular Schools offering Law School Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

The Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law is a regionally accredited nonprofit law school. Our school is accredited by both the Western Association of Schools & Colleges Senior College and University Commission and the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California.

  • Programs: Juris Doctor
  • Degrees: Doctorate

Hofstra University is a private institution whose primary mission is to provide a quality education to its students in an environment that encourages, nurtures and supports learning through the free and open exchange of ideas for the betterment of humankind.

  • Programs: Online Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy
  • Degrees: Master

Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.

  • Programs: Legal Studies - Law & Public Policy (Master of Science) - Online, Legal Studies - Homeland Security (Master of Science) - Online, Legal Studies - Criminal Justice (Master of Science) - Online, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor

Designed with the needs of working adult students in mind, South University, Online Programs is built on the similar curriculum offered at South University's campus locations. As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

  • Programs: Paralegal Studies (AS)
  • Degrees: Associate
Platt College
Alhambra, Anaheim, Ontario, Riverside

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

  • Programs: Paralegal Studies
  • Degrees: Associate, Bachelor

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

  • Programs: CERT: Paralegal Studies
  • Degrees: Certificate
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Lawyers

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Lawyers, including: