dcsimg

Career Story: Trial Attorney For The Federal Government

Trial Attorney For The Federal Government

Job Title: Trial Attorney

Education: B.A. in History, University of Wisconsin (Madison) •• Ed.M. in Secondary Education, Boston Univerisity •• J.D., Boston College.

Previous Experience: I had several careers before I became a lawyer: teacher, social policy consultant, dance critic.

Job Tasks: Staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor - a regional office of the litigation arm of a department of the federal government. That is, I'm a government attorney and employee.

I enforce federal labor laws (like the Fair Labor Standards Act that deals with minimum wage and overtime issues, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act that deals with workplace safety and health issues, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act that deals with the security of health and pension funds, the Mine Safety and Health Act that deals with underground as well as surface mining safety and health issues - these are just a few of the 78 laws the Department is empowered to enforce).

Our office is a regional office that covers all the New England states and we travel to do our work. Our work involves negotiating with employers found in breach of those laws or where negotiations fail, seek enforcement through the federal court system.

A typical day would involve reviewing and analyzing a case, recommending it for litigation (if the matter is found to have solid legal foundation and conclusions), discussing the matter with an investigator from the client agency within the Department, meeting with the alleged wrongdoer to try to resolve the issue.

Sometimes it may mean going to court to try a case (for example, I had to try a case in Connecticut over a seven month period). Occasionally, it may involve traveling to meet with an investigator of a client agency or opposing counsel in another city in the New England region. Sometimes I may consult or collaborate on a matter with another attorney in my office.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best: The work I do has value for our society by ensuring workers are paid properly, that the workplace is a safe, healthy environment, that employees health and pension funds are properly and prudently managed. Also, the office is a very collegial environment with non-competitive, mutually supportive colleagues.

The worst: The extent of enforcment can often be a matter of policy decisions made at the very top; so, depending on who the Secretary of Labor is, will govern how vigorous our enforcment action will be.

Job Tips:
1. Get broad range of experience in labor law either by working in a law firm or in some other capacity involving labor issues (e.g., union representation work).

2. Be open and receptive to learning new things; try to be creative in thinking how to approach a novel legal issue.

3. Get experience trying cases in court - whether it means doing pro bono work, or some other legal work that takes you into court often.

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

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

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

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: