ContractsCounsel Logo
Home Blog What Are Labor Lawyers?

What Are Labor Lawyers?

Jump to Section

What Are Labor Lawyers?

Labor lawyers practice employment law, and they can represent either employers or employees. They work with clients in industries that have labor unions, such as education or law enforcement, although employees do not necessarily have to be union members to get help from a labor lawyer. These lawyers are experts on union rules and regulations and how they apply to employers and union members.

Labor lawyers who represent employers are often referred to as management-side labor lawyers, while those who represent employees are known as employee-side labor lawyers.

Labor lawyers frequently handle legal issues in cases that deal with union creation, collective bargaining, and negotiations between unions and management. To resolve disputes, these attorneys may opt to go to mediation or arbitration, or request out-of-court settlements. In other cases, they may sue the opposing party in court.

When Do You Need a Labor Lawyer?

Both employers and employees may need to consult with labor lawyers. If you're an employee, consider talking with a labor lawyer if:

  • You need to file a lawsuit against your employer.
  • You need to negotiate contract terms during a union strike.
  • Your employer fired you on unreasonable grounds.
  • Your employer refuses to provide severance pay.

If you're an employer, consider talking with a labor attorney if:

  • You have reason to believe your employees are planning to strike.
  • You intend to fire an employee who is a union member.
  • A representative from a government agency has visited your company or contacted you for more information about an incident.
  • An employee has filed or threatened to file a lawsuit accusing your business of hazardous work conditions, wrongful termination, or any type of mistreatment or discrimination.

Do You Always Have to Talk With a Labor Attorney Before Terminating an Employee?

No matter the situation, it's always in an employer's best interest to talk with a labor lawyer before firing a unionized employee. Even if you believe the employee has performed illegal actions or stolen from the company, you should always talk with a lawyer before moving forward with a termination.

Labor laws are complex, and few business owners have the time to understand their nuances. Because labor lawyers are experts in labor and employment law, they can assess your situation and advise you on how to proceed so that you protect yourself and your business. A labor attorney can advise you on what to do in these common situations:

  • A job contract or union rules prevent you from firing an employee.
  • The employee is a member of a protected class, and the termination could qualify as discrimination.
  • The employee has filed an official complaint against your business with a local or federal agency.
  • You have reason to believe the employee will take adverse action against you or your company as a result of the termination.

Get Free Bids to Compare

Leverage our network of lawyers, request free bids, and find the right lawyer for the job.

Get Bids Now

How Much Do Labor Lawyers Cost?

Before you hire a labor attorney, it's important to understand how much they charge and how they structure their rates so you can set appropriate expectations. Labor lawyers charge rates based on their experience level and their location. For example, a labor attorney who has 15 years of experience and who serves a city with a high cost of living may charge substantially more than a newer lawyer who serves a rural area with a lower cost of living.

Many labor lawyers charge hourly rates or monthly retainers, especially if you require their services regularly. Others may charge a fixed rate for a more well-defined project. Still, others may accommodate clients on a contingency basis, which means they charge a certain percentage of the settlement you receive.

How Are Labor Lawyers and Employment Lawyers Different?

Labor lawyers and employment lawyers handle similar issues, but these two types of attorneys have key differences. Employment lawyers represent nonunionized employers and employees. They typically deal with state and federal laws related to nonunion scheduling, overtime, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and workers' compensation.

In contrast, labor lawyers deal primarily with federal and state labor laws, which apply to unionized employees and their employers. Most labor attorneys rely on legislation like the National Labor Relations Act to guide their cases and lawsuits. Here is an article about the National Labor Relations Act.

How Do You Find a Good Labor Lawyer?

To find a good labor lawyer who can support your case, follow these steps:

  1. Search a directory of lawyers and narrow your focus by your state. Even if you don't think you'll need to meet your attorney in person, it's important to find a legal expert who is licensed to practice in your state. If you want to find a lawyer who works in your area, narrow your search by city.
  2. Read each candidate's profile carefully to assess whether they're a good match for your situation. For example, if you're a union employee who was recently fired, you may want to look for a labor lawyer who has several years of experience representing employees and who has a strong track record of resolving wrongful termination cases.
  3. Make a list of the top two or three candidates who seem like the best fit. Since different attorneys may take very different approaches to legal issues, it's in your best interest to consider at least two perspectives and potential outcomes.
  4. Request a consultation with your top candidates. Most labor lawyers offer free consultations, which give you an opportunity to explain the basics of your case and receive a professional opinion. During your free case evaluation, ask how strong your case seems to be and what range of outcomes you might be able to expect. Then compare the answers you receive and consider the attorney with the most appealing response.
  5. Clarify the lawyer's rate. Before committing to working with a law firm, make sure you understand what the rate is and how the firm charges. An hourly rate may be reasonable for smaller cases or retainer agreements. However, a flat rate or a contingency fee may be more affordable for a complex or lengthy case.
  6. Confirm the case's timeline. Perhaps your case is approaching its statute of limitations, or you're concerned about an employee's threat. If your situation is relatively urgent, it's important to confirm that the law firm can take on your case immediately. Even if your case isn't an emergency, it's essential to know when the legal proceedings can move forward and when you might be able to expect a resolution.

How Do You Become a Labor Lawyer?

Labor lawyers need several years of post-secondary education and a state license to work in the legal field. To work as a labor attorney, follow these steps:

  1. Get a bachelor's degree. Before attending law school, students have to earn an undergraduate degree, typically with a major like philosophy, history, English, or political science.
  2. Go to law school. Aspiring lawyers have to complete three years of law school, resulting in a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Law schools must be accredited by the American Bar Association.
  3. Pass the bar exam. All attorneys have to pass their state's bar exam before practicing law. Lawyers who practice in multiple states must pass all relevant exams.
  4. Gain work experience. Most attorneys begin their careers as associates, where they work alongside experienced lawyers. After a few years of experience, they may have an opportunity to become a partner in their law firm.
  5. Join a specialized network. Many labor lawyers become members of the National Employment Lawyers Association or the American Bar Association's Section of Labor and Employment Law.

Here is a link with additional information about working as a labor attorney.

Whether you're an employee or an employer, a labor lawyer can help you exercise your rights or protect yourself or your business. Find a labor lawyer in your area and get in touch with a legal professional today.


ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.


How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lawyers

Sarah S. on ContractsCounsel
View Sarah
5.0 (14)
Member Since:
June 19, 2023

Sarah S.

Principal Attorney and Founder
Free Consultation
Los Angeles
20 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Loyola Law School

With 20 years of transactional law experience, I have represented corporate giants like AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as mid-size and small businesses across a wide spectrum of legal needs, including business purchase agreements, entity formation, employment matters, commercial and residential real estate transactions, partnership agreements, online business terms and policy drafting, and business and corporate compliance. Recognizing the complexities of the legal landscape, I am dedicated to providing accessible and transparent legal services by offering a flat fee structure, making high-quality legal representation available to all. My extensive knowledge and commitment to client success establishes me as a trusted advisor for businesses of all sizes.

Laurie R. on ContractsCounsel
View Laurie
5.0 (4)
Member Since:
June 19, 2023

Laurie R.

Real Estate and Business Attorney
Free Consultation
Dallas, Texas
23 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CO
University of Colorado

Business-minded, analytical and detail-oriented attorney with broad experience in real estate and corporate law, with an emphasis on retail leasing, sales and acquisitions and real estate finance. Extensive experience in drafting complex commercial contracts, including purchase and sale contracts for businesses in a wide variety of industries. Also experienced in corporate formation and governance, mergers and acquisitions, employment and franchise law. Admitted to practice in Colorado since 2001, Bar No. 33427.

Christina M. on ContractsCounsel
View Christina
5.0 (9)
Member Since:
June 22, 2023

Christina M.

Legal Consultant
Free Consultation
Las Vegas, NV
17 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NV
UNLV Boyd School of Law

I am a regulatory transactional attorney with 16 years of in-house experience, largely in the gaming/gambling industry. I have negotiated various types and sizes of contracts from janitorial services for a small commercial building to multi-million dollar technology transactions. I also have a strong regulatory background that strengthens my ability to navigate contracts that are subject to stringent regulations.

Bobby H. on ContractsCounsel
View Bobby
5.0 (5)
Member Since:
June 22, 2023

Bobby H.

Associate Attorney
Free Consultation
Atlanta, Georgia
11 Yrs Experience
Licensed in GA
University of Miami School of Law

Bobby E. Hill, Jr. is a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and holds undergraduate degrees in music and business administration from Xavier University of Louisiana. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law where he was a staff and articles editor for the school’s Race & Social Justice Law Review and a student attorney in the institution’s Immigration Clinic. In addition to freelancing, Bobby is currently a litigation associate at Johnson & Freeman, LLC, a boutique litigation firm in Atlanta, Georgia, where he practices in the firm's Condemnation, Probate, Real Estate Litigation, Real Estate Transactions, E-Discovery and Business and General Civil Litigation Practice areas. In this role, Bobby has acquired appreciable experience in drafting memoranda of law for partners and senior counsel, and all litigation related pleadings including pleadings related to dispositive motions, discovery, appeals, and other post-judgment relief.

Garrett M. on ContractsCounsel
View Garrett
4.9 (6)
Member Since:
June 15, 2023

Garrett M.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Cincinnati, Ohio
4 Yrs Experience
Licensed in KY, OH
University of Cincinnati College of Law

Attorney Garrett Mayleben's practice is focused on representing small businesses and the working people that make them profitable. He represents companies in structuring and negotiating merger, acquisition, and real estate transactions; guides emerging companies through the startup phase; and consults with business owners on corporate governance matters. Garrett also practices in employment law, copyright and trademark law, and civil litigation. Though industry agnostic, Garrett has particular experience representing medical, dental, veterinary, and chiropractic practices in various business transactions, transitions, and the structuring of related management service organizations (MSOs).

Nancy B. on ContractsCounsel
View Nancy
Member Since:
June 17, 2023

Nancy B.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Dalton, Georgia
34 Yrs Experience
Licensed in GA
Albany Law School, Albany, NY

I was born in Charlotte, NC and primarily raised in Dalton, GA. I graduated from Dalton High School in 1981 where I was in the band and the French club. I also participated in Junior Achievement and was a member of Tri-Hi-Y. New York granted my first license as an attorney in 1990. I then worked as a partner in the firm of Broda and Burnett for almost 10 years and as a solo practitioner for about 2 years. I worked as a general practitioner (primarily doing divorces, child abuse cases, custody matters and other family law matters, bankruptcy, real estate closings, contracts, taxes, etc.) and as a Law Guardian (attorney who represents children). I obtained my license in Tennessee in December 2002 and began working as an associate at Blackburn & McCune from February of 2003 until May of 2005. At Blackburn & McCune I provided telephone legal counsel to Prepaid Legal Services (now known as Legal Shield) members, wrote letters for members, reviewed contracts, attended hearings on traffic ticket matters and represented members with regard to IRS matters. In May of 2005, I went to work for North American Satellite Corporation where I served as Corporate Counsel. I handled a number of taxation issues, reviewed and wrote contracts, counseled the CEO and Board of Directors on avoiding legal problems and resolving disputes, and represented employees on a variety of matters, and also assisted the company for a period of time as its Director of Accounting. In 2010, I volunteered as a law clerk for Judge Robert Adams in Dalton, Georgia until I obtained my license to practice law in Georgia in November, 2010. In Georgia, I have handled a variety of family law matters, drafted wills, advanced health care directives, power of attorney documents, reviewed and drafted contracts, and conducted real estate closings. Currently, I accept cases in the areas of adoption, child support, custody, divorce, legitimation and other family law matters. In addition, I handle name change petitions and draft wills.

David M. on ContractsCounsel
View David
Member Since:
June 20, 2023

David M.

Shareholder
Free Consultation
Ann Arbor, Michigan
22 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MI
Wayne State University

Michigan and USPTO licensed attorney with over 20 years of experience on counseling clients in the fields of intellectual property, transactional law, technology involvement, negotiations, and business litigation.

Derek C. on ContractsCounsel
View Derek
Member Since:
June 19, 2023

Derek C.

Real Estate Attorney
Free Consultation
Tampa
10 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL, NM, NY
Barry University

Attorney with over 10+ years' experience and have closed over $1 Billion in real estate, telecommunications, & business transactions

John B. on ContractsCounsel
View John
Member Since:
June 21, 2023

John B.

Principal Attorney
Free Consultation
Indianapolis, IN
14 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL, IN
University of Illinois Chicago School of Law

I am an attorney with over 13 years experience licensed in both Illinois and Indiana. I spent the early part of my career as a civil litigation attorney. Eventually, I moved into an in-house role, specifically as general counsel, to help companies avoid the pains of litigation. In doing so, I gained significant experience in executive leadership, corporate governance, risk management and cybersecurity/privacy. I bring this wealth of experience to my client engagements to not only resolve the immediate issue, but help implement lasting improvements in practices to avoid similar problems going forward.

Daniel W. on ContractsCounsel
View Daniel
Member Since:
June 22, 2023

Daniel W.

Attorney
Free Consultation
New York
23 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ, NY
HOFSTRA LAW SCHOOL

I am a Spanish-fluent corporate and commercial real estate attorney and broker licensed in New York and New Jersey. My pragmatic approach towards conflict resolution allows me to provide valuable advice to clients on avoiding issues of liability through effective risk management and strategic allocation of resources. I counsel businesses, developers, owners and investors on residential/commercial real estate and corporate transactions involving the acquisition, finance, development, leasing and disposition of all asset classes. In addition, I advise on joint venture partnerships and the negotiation, structure and drafting of operating agreements. Throughout my successful practice, I have held in-house counsel positions at large corporations, including JPMorgan Chase and Duane Reade, and had the privilege of working for the Department of Justice where I honed expertise in all aspects of mortgage-backed securities.

Christine T. on ContractsCounsel
View Christine
Member Since:
July 17, 2023

Christine T.

Partner
Free Consultation
Albany, NY
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CT, NJ, NY
UCLA School of Law

Christine E. Taylor focuses her practice in the areas of Hospitality Law, Business Law, Labor and Employment Law, Real Estate Law, Administrative Law, Estate Law and Litigation. Ms. Taylor grew up within the campground industry, working at parks in both the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Franchise and the Kampgrounds of America Franchise. Armed with two decades of experience, Ms. Taylor is quick to point out the legal issues that apply to outdoor hospitality business owners. She has provided a wide variety of services to campgrounds, RV Parks, and glamping venues, including seasonal licenses, waivers, employment contracts, real estate services and even litigation services as needed.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Quick, user friendly and one of the better ways I've come across to get ahold of lawyers willing to take new clients.

View Trustpilot Review

Need help with a legal contract?

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer

CONTRACT LAWYERS BY TOP CITIES
See All Employment Lawyers

Contracts Counsel was incredibly helpful and easy to use. I submitted a project for a lawyer's help within a day I had received over 6 proposals from qualified lawyers. I submitted a bid that works best for my business and we went forward with the project.

View Trustpilot Review

I never knew how difficult it was to obtain representation or a lawyer, and ContractsCounsel was EXACTLY the type of service I was hoping for when I was in a pinch. Working with their service was efficient, effective and made me feel in control. Thank you so much and should I ever need attorney services down the road, I'll certainly be a repeat customer.

View Trustpilot Review

I got 5 bids within 24h of posting my project. I choose the person who provided the most detailed and relevant intro letter, highlighting their experience relevant to my project. I am very satisfied with the outcome and quality of the two agreements that were produced, they actually far exceed my expectations.

View Trustpilot Review

How It Works

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city