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.
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.
These 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.
A degree from CTU connects you to what matters most: powerful professional network, real-world professional faculty and innovative technology. Once you earn your degree you hit the ground running.
Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.
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.
You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.
At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.
See What’s Possible When You Earn a Degree at Florida Tech 100% Online
For over 35 years, Keiser University has provided student-centered, quality career education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions.
Welcome to Argosy University
Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges: College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education, College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.
Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.
San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.
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.
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:
Please also see our detailed information about Lawyers, including: