Monthly Archive: June 2013

Jun 25

NYU 66th Annual Conference on Labor

gregory-076St. John’s Center for Labor and Employment proudly co-sponsors NYU’s Annual Conference on Labor and held a kickoff reception the night prior to the conference. The keynote speaker at the reception was Lorelei Salas, Legal Director of Make the Road New York (MRNY).

MRNY is is a not-for-profit, membership-led organization based in Bushwick, Brooklyn; which builds the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services. As Legal Director for MRNY, Ms. Salas heads the housing and benefits litigation team, the employment team, the health advocacy team, and the newly formed immigration unit. In that capacity, she directs litigation, supervises the provision of direct legal services, and helps develop policy and campaign work around issues that affect the MRNY community.

Ms. Salas spoke to the group of students, friends of the CLEL and distinguished guests at a reception on June 3, 2013 about the opportunities and transformation that she is a part of for MRNY. She spoke about how her career and life experiences had shaped her passion for worker’s rights and a recent success, the organization of cash wash workers in New York City who have recently signed their first union contract.

The kickoff reception preceded NYU’s 66th Annual Conference on Labor brings together top government officials and leading attorneys in the fields of labor and employment law in a unique and practical two-day program offering practical learning and CLE credit.

Jun 17

Course Selection Recommendations from Professor David L. Gregory

Many students have asked for advice about making course selections. The most proactive route for a student interested in labor and employment law is to immediately concentrate in the subject area, but these recommendations are generally applicable to any student.

The general principle is: life is short. A student who knows they want to be a labor and employment lawyer should take as many L&E classes as they can, as soon as possible. While most of these proactive, inquiring students ultimately concentrate in labor and employment law (L&EL), these suggestions have broader utility. For those who are sampling different areas of interest, know that a fine grade in a single elective is better than a terrible grade in an elective. This advice is especially pertinent to rising 2L’s.

If you are able to take four courses in L&E law in the fall semester, do so. Take additional courses in the spring semester and take required courses after building an impressive block of excellence in labor and employment law classes. Human nature being what it is, a student is likely to do very well in the subjects they are most interested in. Even if  you graduate and never directly practice L&EL, you have nevertheless gained  a conceptual and practical architecture portable to virtually any other substantive area of law.

There are many examples of students who excelled in labor and employment classes who went on to practice in different areas entirely. The Chief Counsel to the Governor of a major state graduated at the top of the class as an evening student, practiced entertainment law briefly, went to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, moved up the ranks to become the Executive Assistant to the U.S. Attorney (who is now Governor); the Chief of Staff to the U.S. Secretary of Defense also is another example.

Virtually without exception, students taking two or more related courses in the same semester find that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts—i.e., one does better taking synergistic courses in the same semester.  This will create opportunities to show a depth of knowledge in the subject area.  Some L&E courses may be paper based, with opportunity for developing a publishable paper competitively situated for an external prize competition. (e.g., the NYSB Association L&E Law Section annual writing competition.) Prospective employers will be impressed. Most scholarships and employment opportunities are concentrated on 2L students.

Imagine being the employer considering 2L students for summer associate positions. Candidate F takes Labor Law in the fall semester, 2013, and receives a B+ (or, OK, A-; not bad!) Candidate F remains an F, however, if F does not take any other L&E course. Meanwhile, Candidate A takes Labor Law with NLRB Regional Director and prominent alumna Karen Fernbach, Pension and Benefits Law with John Campbell of the United States Department of Labor Office of the Solicitor, Employment Law with me and Employment Discrimination Law co-taught by David Marshall, partner with the management side firm Edwards Wildman, and yours truly.

Four courses trump one or two courses.  Simple.

Candidate A becomes the A+ summer associate, and receives a partial tuition scholarship in addition. Candidate F was never really in the game. During the fall interview, in response to the employer’s query regarding labor and employment law courses, Candidate F says Labor Law was the only course that fit F’s fall schedule.

Candidate A, however, submits the fall and spring list of eight labor and employment courses Candidate A is taking the full academic year. Case closed. All things being equal otherwise, if one position is available between Candidates A and F, F gets the rejection letter and Candidate A gets the summer position.

With a summer position secure and likely to lead to an offer to join the firm as an associate after graduation, Candidate A can take the required courses in the third year with relatively greater confidence that a lower grade in a required course would not be catastrophic. Candidate A’s GPA went up significantly in the fall semester, after acing every L&E course. Meanwhile, Candidate F and friends have squandered their critically important fall 2L semester. Rather than developing some substantive depth, Candidate F et al maintain that they have “gotten several required courses out of the way, although cumulative GPAs did suffer.” Candidate F and friends have little substantive depth and lower cumulative GPAs.  Presented in this fashion, the choice is simple.

Good luck!!

Jun 11

Concert Event – Friday June 14, 2013

On Friday, June 14, the Catholic Worker Maryhouse, (55 East 3rd between 1st and 2nd) is hosting a song fest, Dylan and Dorothy! Works will be performed by a graduate theology student on guitar.

This event was inspired by the Labor Law Society event, Songs of Labor and Love.

Admission is free and open to all! Doors open at 7:30 pm and the music begins at 7:45!

At 5 pm, anyone so inclined is welcome to join Dave and Garris Gregory at the Mighty Quinn at 2nd Ave and East 5th st for the best BARBQ in NY (per the cover article on the current issue of Time Out NY).

After dinner we will be walking the few blocks to the CW for the music. Hope to see you there!

Jun 02

Congratulations to the 2013 Graduates!

Congratulations to the St. John’s University School of Law Class of 2013!  The graduates were honored today in a ceremony on Sunday, June 2 at Carnesecca Arena at the Queens campus. The Honorable Jonathan Lippmann, Chief Judge of the State of New York, and the Honorable Theodore T. Jones Jr., ‘72L, ‘07HON were also awarded at the ceremony.

The St. John’s Center for Labor and Employment Law and the Labor Relations & Employment Law Society would like to thank all of the graduates who contributed their time and efforts to the Center, the Society and this blog. Congratulations and thank you to Andrew Midgen, Amanda Jaret, Krystyna Baumgartner, Thomas Keane, and Ian Hayes.

Very special thanks to Alyssa Zuckerman, whose tireless efforts created and nurtured this blog from the very beginning and who will be sorely missed!

Congratulations and good luck in your future endeavors!