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Post, Silbergeld Discuss Possible Labor and Employment Law Surge in Los Angeles Business Journal

July 17, 2023

Los Angeles office Managing Partner Jennifer Post and partner Art Silbergeld shared their insight with the Los Angeles Business Journal on an anticipated increase in labor and employment law work in the region and across the country.

The article, “Legal Boom Nigh?”, was published on July 17, 2023.

Unionization, labor negotiations and strike activity in recent months are cited as potential factors in a labor and employment law surge by the publication. Silbergeld sees the after effects of the Covid-19 and challenging economic conditions as also being key to understanding any increase in work.

“I think there are a number of reasons related to the pandemic and the jump in inflation rate that have combined to increase that interest,” said Silbergeld.

The Los Angeles Business Journal notes that labor issues have been making headlines in the city for much of the year. The Writer’s Guild of America has been on strike since May, and SAG-AFTRA joined the picket lines last week. Tensions are high, the publication says, at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach between shippers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Amazon, UPS and Starbucks have also been involved in high profile labor negotiations.

Silbergeld noted that in the last two years there has been an increase of approximately 99,000 union members in California.

He said, “During the same time period, the National Labor Relations Board reported an increase in union petitions of 50%, so there is certainly an increase in interest in union membership. That to me indicates there is a pretty wide interest among workers to seek the protections of the unions.”

“At the same time, employers saw a loss of revenue and profit margins and they knew that they couldn’t afford to have wage increases, so they fought very hard against union organization drives, and, I think, very successfully,” said Silbergeld.

Speaking to the cyclical nature of the economy and resulting legal work, and to Thompson Coburn’s strategic approach to practice mix and balance, Post told the Los Angeles Business Journal that though transactional work is still reeling from the pandemic, the regulatory nature of the state means labor and employments lawyers are always bringing clients up to speed on new rules.

Post said, “We consider the labor and employment bench here to be critical to the service of our clients in California and who come to California who may be based elsewhere. In fact, across our offices in different states, we’re really in a push to hire labor and employment talent at different levels. It’s been organic. We’re trying right now to hire at the associate level to support the case work here.”