There is a piece in the Globe and Mail today that discusses how employment law is booming in these hard times. Sadly, this has much to do with the terrible number of employees who have lost their job. The article makes some more general comments about extent of litigation in employment and labour law. It cites a study by the law firm, Fasken Martineau:
Employment law has leapt to the top of the heap. A national survey released this month by law firm Fasken Martineau showed that 40 per cent of companies with more than 50 employees were involved in litigation last year, most commonly for labour and employment, or contracts.
Here is the Fasken study. The study surveyed in-house counsel from major Canadian companies and asked them, among other things, to rank the subject matter of litigation the company had engaged in. Labour and employment law ranked highest in both Current Top Concerns (19% of litigation matters) and Future Top Concerns expected (23 %). I recall reading a while back that labour/employment lawyers are also among the highest paid lawyers in Canada (but I can’t find that study now). And a look through the Ontario Reports any given week will usually disclose any number of labour and employment law job openings.
With the popularity and demand for labour and employment law experts today, one might expect that law schools would be interested in producing strong candidates and building their labour and employment law expertise. But in fact the opposite seems to be true, as I have noted earlier. Some Canadian law schools have no dedicated labour and employment law professors. Others, like Queens and Osgoode Hall, have seen the numbers of labour and employment law faculty decline dramatically in recent years, as transfers and retirements are not replaced, or are only partially replaced. This disconnect between the demand for labour/employment lawyers and the decreasing interest in the subject in law schools is a cause of concern for the labour and employment bar. Some leading firms have been trying to persuade the law schools to improve their labour and employment law resources.
But if you are a law student, focusing on labour and employment law might put you in good standing in your impending job search.