The recent economic downturn has been hard on lawyers. Inhouse legal departments are downsizing. Firms are conducting layoffs and cancelling summer programs. Even law schools are getting in on the act, encouraging incoming 1Ls to defer admission for a year (or more).
There has been no shortage of advice to help lawyers navigate these treacherous career waters. Everyone seems to have an opinion. The August issue of the Journal of the American Bar Association weighs in, identifying seven practice areas that remain busy despite the overall legal slowdown.
So, as a public service to you, our dear readers, I'm going to channel my inner Mr. McGuire and say just two words: Employment Law.
Yesterday Sam told you all about how social media is striking fear into the hearts of corporate executives everywhere. And, of course, employment lawyers are standing by to help them craft new "social media policies" (employee blog policies are so 2007).
But the good times don't stop there. In fact, the Internet is a virtual "Full Employment for Employment Lawyers" machine.
A recent case in Ohio is sure to have employment lawyers everywhere busily updating employee manuals to avoid discrimination against porn addicts. And then there's the spate of class action lawsuits by hourly employees seeking backpay for being required to carry Crackberries. (Things will get even more interesting if the IRS goes forward with plans to tax Blackberry service as an employment "fringe benefit.") Then there's the recent employment discrimination case against a Philadelphia police department for racist comments posted by officers on an Internet forum.
All of this is just the beginning. The continued spread of new social media technologies will continue to pose new challenges (and headaches) for HR managers. So you might want brush up on your employment law.