A Day in the Life of an Employment Lawyer
Rob Wiley: I’m Rob Wiley, and I'm talking here today with Austin employment lawyer, Colin Walsh. Colin, what is a day in the life look like for an Austin employment lawyer?
Colin Walsh: Well, I wake up in the morning, I come to the office and I fight for employees' rights. I look for ways to make their job better, or to help them find a job or to help them redress wrongs that they've experienced. And, it's really rewarding. I enjoy it quite a bit.
Rob Wiley: And, as I understand it, employment law is different from some other areas of law, in that, it's not just always in a courtroom. You often find yourself dealing with agencies like the EEOC, or OSHA or the Department of Labor or of Justice. What are some of those kinds of things that you do as an employment lawyer?
Colin Walsh: Yes, on a day-to-day basis, I'm not going to be in the courtroom. But, I will be working with federal agencies, like the EEOC, which protects employees' rights from discrimination and Title 7, or OSHA which does worker safety. And, so working with them is a large part of what I do, and, helping them find the facts that they need in order to properly investigate what's gone wrong with my clients employment relationship? If that all breaks down, then we end up going to court potentially. And, that's where you see the trial attorneys and that's where you see litigation. But, a large part of my job is trying to work out solutions to employees' problems without having to go to court.
Rob Wiley: Well, let's say that you're an employee working here in Austin, Texas. And, you feel like your employer may be doing something wrong. Maybe they're singling you out, treating you differently than other employees are treated or maybe it's something that's blatantly wrong like not paying you or sexual harassment. What should an employee in that kind of situation be doing?
Colin Walsh: I would really recommend that any employee who feels they're being treated wrongly or incorrectly or discriminated or retaliated against, look up an employment lawyer and talk to them about their rights and options. While there are limitations to what we can do, there are a lot of avenues and there are a lot of protections for workers out there. And, so an employment attorney, especially a board-certified employment attorney, is going to be able to best help anybody discover what rights and remedies they have available to them.
Rob Wiley: And, I think sometimes it makes a difference just the fact that a lawyer is involved. When a company gets a letter from an attorney pointing something out sometimes it gets heard in a way that a complaint to human resources or something like that doesn't get the company's attention.
Colin Walsh: I would definitely agree with that. I think when you hire a lawyer, it shows a certain amount of seriousness in the claim that you're bringing. And, it shows a certain amount of commitment to the fact that you were not treated correctly. A lawyer's also going to have more credibility because the lawyer knows what the laws are. It's not whining when a lawyer gets involved. It's a violation of the law or it's a potential violation of the law. And, so it does take it to another level hiring an attorney.
Rob Wiley: And, as I understand it you went to UT Law School. Before that, you went to UT as well. So, I'm assuming you have some college football preferences. And, then you went out and you began practicing labor and employment law. And, now you're actually board-certified in labor and employment law [by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization]. What did you have to do to become board certified?
Colin Walsh: To become board certified, I had to practice in employment law for a certain number of years. In fact, 5 years of practice in labor and employment law. And, I had to take a test. But, the reality is it was easy to qualify for that because all I've done since I graduated law school is represent employees in employment law disputes.