Accessibility Links

Employment law on the increase; could solve all of NFL's problems

Posted by: Laurence Simons 12/06/12

Quietly confident sector growth could score a coup in high-profile case.

Close your eyes and think of the future. Cool shiny spacesuits, yes. Hoverboards, undoubtedly. But if you're a lawyer, you're not imagining any Jetson-like robot slaves or super-highways in the sky: you're thinking of thousands clawed hands, locked-up in unison. Workplace injuries: goldmine. And that makes employment law a pretty hot place to be.

"There's a lot of work around and lawyers are busy," says Mark Walters, associate director at Argyll Scott. "The appetite to hire, however, is tempered by firms' lack of budget and a lower level of deal-related employment work."

Brian Sheehy also highlighted the growing demand for employment lawyers for experience of dealing in litigation, as a slow but substantial increase in roles is driven by regulatory changes. "There has been a notable move of late towards lawyers with more contentious experience," he told The Lawyer.

Basically, as long as people are discriminated at work, fired for stealing paperclips or conspired against by regulatory changes, there should be a healthy demand for employment-focussed law associates. And as long as young men strap helmets to themselves and hurtle head-first into each other, there should be money in it.

"Scores of lawsuits involving thousands of [NFL] former players touched by concussions and brain injuries have been consolidated into one master complaint," says ESPN, after a history-defining lawsuit was filed against the NFL in Philadelphia. Essentially, 2,100 very confused former players are moving to make the League more responsible for player care after they retire, with scores of contact injuries being suffered by former athletes. And as an estimated 78 per cent of former NFL stars face bankruptcy within two years of ending their playing careers, there could well be some dollars on the line as part of the suit, too.

Or not. As Forbes report, employment lawyers could well make this whole thing blow over. "Regardless of the number of players bringing suits, almost all of them face the same legal hurdle: Every single claim is pre-empted by federal labour law," said Tulane Law School's Gabriel Feldman.