I have spent my twenty-year legal career between employment law and traditional labor law. I started my career as a Field Attorney with the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago. I wanted trial experience quickly and I was not disappointed: I was assigned one trial a month for three straight years. I tried my first case two months into my tenure, and by the end of my stint with the NLRB, I had tried three unfair labor practice cases, overseen 50-plus representation hearings, and settled over 100 cases. It was exhilarating, and I learned the government's approach to labor law.
I chose to practice labor law because I knew I would never get bored. It's an incredibly dynamic area of the law that can change with the political winds. Thus, every four to eight years you may see a complete shift in the law. There is also an unpretentiousness about this area of law that I truly appreciate. Practitioners may be a bit rough around the edges, but we don't put on airs.
After working with NLRB and then two law firms in two different states, I became a solo practitioner focusing on employment consulting. This is where I truly learned the business of law. Small business owners have to be a jack-of-all-trades. They have to become experts at marketing, bookkeeping, IT, human resources, and accounting, all while also performing their core business. Learning how to deal with all of the aspects of running my own business was daunting. This experience not only gave me a deep respect for small business owners, it gave me new insight into the challenges they face daily. I am in awe of those who do it.
I understand that a client's business is what fuels them. I understand they would much rather be developing their core business than talking to me or thinking about the law. I want my clients to know that I will do my best to take all of that off their plates so they can focus on doing what they love.
After working with the NLRB at the start of my career, my husband and I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where I began working with the oldest and largest law firm in western North Carolina, the Van Winkle Law Firm. My boss was a litigation cowboy. There, I handled cases ranging from family law matters to multidistrict antitrust matters. Where the government taught me to work within the structures of the rules, in Asheville, I learned to think on the fly, color outside the lines, and figure it out as I went along.
Upon moving to Louisville, I started working with Fisher & Phillips. I was able to take all I had learned from practicing cowboy litigation and completely immerse myself in the nuances of employment and labor law. Working primarily with an international employer and its ancillary businesses and affiliates, I was able to see the practice at 10,000 feet, and it was a fascinating machine. Just getting all of the moving parts to progress in the same direction was a herculean effort, but once the systems were in place, it was like watching a ballet.
McBrayer McGinnis Leslie and Kirkland
Firm Prospects attorney tracking launched in 2015/2016. Prior employment history currently unavailable.