The Advantages and Drawbacks of Switching Practice Areas
[00:00:00] Do people ever start their career practicing commercial litigation and later switch to labor and employment, mix of litigation and counseling work. If so, can you please share a little bit about making this transition? Relative pros and cons? Biglaw / midlaw / boutique? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Okay. So that's a great question. You can switch to labor and employment. And it's really not that difficult to see what's going on. This switch to labor and employment from litigation. I think, the practice areas are very similar in a lot of respects and your litigator can typically, fairly easily transition into doing labor and employment.
It's actually a smart thing to do in many cases. And in other cases, that's not smart. The reason smart to switch into labor and employment is that the billing rates are often, much lower in labor and employment. Also, if you're doing like labor, counseling and litigation, it can be much easier to attract clients because clients in the labor employment field typically need a labor and employment attorney on an ongoing basis.
Our company, we have outside labor and [00:01:00] employment attorneys in addition to in-house counsel that we talk to every week. They just get phone calls. Imagine that those same attorneys are working with a lot of people. So, if you are a labor and employment attorney, it's fairly easy to build a book of business.
It's also very easy to go in-house because a lot of times, the companies will need in-house people. It's a very good profession. And, I'm in a very good practice area in many respects because of that.
You can make the switch.
The drawbacks are, if you want to be in a large law firm, large law firms, are moving away from labor and employment because the billing rates are lower. What happens is because companies need ongoing assistance. There are a lot of competition from labor and employment attorneys. So the, a lot of them are very inexpensive. An outside labor and employment attorney might charge, $300 an hour as a partner in many cases. Whereas, if they were a commercial litigator, they might be $750 at a firm. The billing rates are much lower. So, a lot of times large law firms are moving away from doing labor and employment and they really want to concentrate on litigation.
I think you can [00:02:00] make the transition if that's something you want to do. You may have to move to a smaller firm to do it or a firm where you can do that. Some of the drawbacks of labor and employment are a lot of the work is repetitive. It's very similar fact patterns over and over again.
Many people find it's not as interesting. I mean there's obviously human drama and stuff, but a lot of times they find it's not as interesting. But, the people that do labor and employment consistently, typically do have a much better style of life. They have the ability to attract clients. They have a lot of other advantages and I think it's a very good profession. A very good practice here for a lot of people. Also, if you want to go in-house you can go as a layman appointment attorney, or you can go in-house many times and do HR. Those are some things I like about it. And I've seen a lot of people do very well going in as labor and employment attorneys and I think that that there are very good reasons to do it.
I think if it was me and I was practicing, I would definitely think very seriously about it because [00:03:00] you can have a long-term business and it's much easier to do. And, the most part too, I think that labor and employment attorneys are much less stressed out than people from other types of firms.
And so, I think people like it quite a bit.