Labor and Employment Law Course Suggestions

The complex and wide-ranging law of the workplace offers lawyers many different types of practice opportunities. We have tried to identify some of the courses you should consider for a variety of possible labor and employment law careers, but we caution you to think creatively and to talk to faculty and to lawyers about the knowledge and skills you should have. We have also noted two or three clinics that may be most likely to teach relevant skills and knowledge, but we note that many of the skills learned in clinical placements are transferrable to other practice settings.

The two essential courses about the law of the workplace are Employment and Employment Discrimination Law and Labor Law.  In addition, students should seriously consider taking Immigration Law, Federal Courts, and Business Associations.  A labor and employment law practice often involves litigation, which means that students should consider taking one or more of Evidence, Trial Practice, and/or Negotiation. Administrative Law is foundational for some aspects of labor and employment law, although the principal aspects of the administrative process that most labor and employment lawyers encounter are taught in Labor Law and Employment and Employment Discrimination Law.

Those who anticipate advising nonprofits should consider the basic Federal Income Tax, and the course on the organization and taxation of non-profits.  Those who aspire to become cause lawyers in the field of workers’ rights surely would benefit from taking Civil Rights Litigation, Constitutional Law: First Amendment, and Cause Lawyering.

There are, in addition, many other courses in the curriculum in 2011-2012 that might be of interest to aspiring labor and employment lawyers, including Critical Identity Theory, courses on law firm management (such as one offered in the Spring Quarter in the Business School on managing non- profits), and courses on particular technical skills (such as Statistics for Lawyers, which will be useful for lawyers handling large employment class actions).  And, finally, any lawyer can benefit from broad intellectual training of the sort that might be offered in law school courses such as Interdisciplinary Perspectives or courses elsewhere at UCI, including at the business school and in the department of Criminology, Law & Society.

The clinics that would be the most directly useful to students considering a career in the law of the workplace are the Immigrant Rights Clinic and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing Clinic. However, the Appellate Advocacy Clinic and the Community and Economic Development Clinic would also teach valuable skills about two important aspects of a labor and employment practice, as lawyers in these practice areas do argue appeals and advise small businesses.