Certificate in Workplace Law

Students who desire to concentrate their elective and extracurricular courses of study in labor and employment law can seek a Certificate in Workplace Law. The Certificate is an acknowledgement by the Faculty that the student has successfully completed a focused course of study to expand his or her knowledge in labor and employment law while developing essential skills of a labor and employment lawyer. Successful completion of the Certificate requires

  1. 25 hours of focused course work,
  2. a two-credit hour labor and employment law focused externship placement, and
  3. a completion of the upper-level writing requirement or equivalent project focused on a labor and employment law issue.

Course of Study

Twenty-five (25) hours total, comprised of the following courses. Students must earn at least a 3.0 Average in those 25 hours of course work, with a minimum grade of C in each course.

Required Core Courses (9 hours)

  • Employment Law (LW 917 - 3 hours)
  • Employment Discrimination (LW 786 - 3 hours)
  • Labor Law (Law 783 - 3 hours)

Required Foundation Courses (7 hours)

  • Administrative Law (LW 780 - 3 hours)
  • Business Associations (LW 703 - 4 hours)

Optional Specialty Courses (4 hours minimum)

Students must take a minimum of 4 hours of course work from the following list of courses.

  • Immigration Law (LW 815 - 2 hours)
  • International Human Rights (LW 812 - 2-3 hours)
  • Public Employment Law (LW 959 - 2 hours)
  • Worker's Compensation (LW 781 - 2 hours)

Optional Skills Curriculum Courses (5 hours minimum)

Students must take a minimum of 5 hours of skills course work from the following list of courses.

  • Advanced Trial Advocacy (LW 724 - 2 hours)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (LW 753 - 3 hours)
  • Arbitration (LW 854 - 2 hours)
  • Interviewing and Counseling (LW 914 - 2 hours)
  • Negotiation (LW 857 - 2 hours)
  • Pretrial Advocacy - Civil (LW 765 - 3 hours)
  • Specialized Legal Research: Statutory and Regulatory Law (LW 949 - 2 hours)
  • Taking and Defending Depositions (LW 907 - 1 hour)
  • Transactional Drafting (LW 707 - 3 hours)
  • Trial Advocacy (LW 766 - 2 hours)

Experiential Learning

Students earning the Workplace Law Certificate must complete a lawyering experience consisting of an externship or other pre-approved Washburn Law-sponsored program that involves a lawyering experience related to labor and employment law. Workplace Law Certificate Administrators, working together with the externship coordinator, will determine whether and externship meets the necessary criteria. Students should register for Externship: Workplace Law. Typical placements include, the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Kansas Department of Labor. In particular circumstances, other experiential learning experiences, such as a judicial externship, may be accepted to satisfy this requirement.

Writing Requirement

Complete the upper level writing requirement (or equivalent writing project) on a pre-approved labor and employment law topic. Students may satisfy this requirement through any of the following:

  • Directed Research: Advanced Topics in Labor and Employment Law
  • Law Journal Note, with approval of the Certificate Administrator and with a faculty member as advisor
  • Through a project associated with an Upper Level Writing Course with the approval of the Certificate Administrator
  • A Court Document (real or moot) with approval of the Certificate Administrator. For example, a student may fulfill this requirement by participating in New York Law School's Wagner Moot Court Competition as part of the Moot Court Team.

These requirements are carefully designed to facilitate learning outcomes tied to skills and values employment attorneys possess.

Learning Outcomes for J.D. Certificate in Workplace Law:

  1. Students will demonstrate competent knowledge and understanding of the substantive law related to labor and employment practice..
  2. Students will demonstrate the ability to understand clients' objectives and recommend practical strategies to achieve those objectives in the labor and employment field.
  3. Students will demonstrate the ability to efficiently employ strategies for identifying, analyzing, researching, and solving specific legal problems within the field of labor and employment law in the manner expected of a competent lawyer.
  4. Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate with clients, decision makers, and the range of other stakeholders in the manner expected of a new lawyer through thorough and efficient research and writing in the area of labor and employment law.
  5. Students will demonstrate the ability to employ strategies for organizing and managing professional time, working cooperatively with others, and meeting professional deadlines in a manner expected of a new lawyer.

General Requirements

Students interested in pursuing a Workplace Law Certificate must first meet with a faculty member administering the program (Dean Mastrosimone or Professor Alaka) to declare their interest and plan their course of study. This must be done prior to completing 40 hours of study.(NOTE: This requirement will be adjusted to accommodate students who have completed 40 hours but desire to pursue this new Certificate opportunity.) Following the meeting, the faculty member and student will complete a "Meeting Summary" (27 KB PDF) in which the faculty member who will serve as the Student's Certificate Advisor will be identified.

The student must complete 90 hours of total law school credit and achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the 25 hours of courses selected by the student to meet the Certificate requirements. Students who obtain a minimum grade point average of a 3.5 for courses used to satisfy their Certificate requirements will be awarded the Certificate in Workplace Law (with distinction).

Faculty Members
Photograph: Joseph Mastrosimone.

Joseph Mastrosimone
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and
Professor of Law

Photograph: Aida Alaka.

Aïda M. Alaka
Professor of Law

Types of Labor and Employment Practice

A labor and employment law practice can take many forms.

  • In litigation based practice an attorneys represent an employer or employee in law suits challenging an employment practice or condition.
  • Transactional practice attorneys draft employee benefit plans, employment contracts, or review complex corporate transactions for labor and employment law implications and liabilities.
  • In counseling based practice attorneys advise an employer-client on compliance with the federal, state, local, and common law restrictions on hiring, managing, and discharging employees and with complying with a host of federal, state, and local laws regulating the employment relationship and workplace safety.
  • An enforcement based attorney works for one of the many federal or statement enforcement agencies such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, or similar state or local government agencies.
Background

Labor and employment law centers on the complex relationships, rights, and duties that arise out of the employment relationship. A labor and employment law practice can include all or some of the following:

  • traditional labor law centered on conflicts between management and labor under the National Labor Relations Act and in collective bargaining and labor arbitration;
  • employment discrimination law centered on the application of the intricate web of federal, state, and local laws regulating an employer's ability to base employment decisions on certain protected attributes;
  • immigration law assisting individuals obtain work authorization or assisting employers comply with the employer provisions of federal immigration law;
  • employment law dealing with wage and hour regulation and the payment of wages and overtime; individual employment rights applying statutory and common law principles to afford employees protection from such things as workplace hazards and wrongful termination;
  • employee mobility law involving drafting or litigation over the enforcement of non-compete agreements and trade secrets issues; or
  • employee benefits law relating to the requirements for welfare benefit and retirement benefit plans.
Certificates of Concentration

Students at Washburn University School of Law may distinguish themselves in the job market by earning a Certificate of Concentration. The areas of concentration can be completed within the traditional 90 credit hours required for graduation. While students do not declare majors because law school provides a broad foundational education, the certificate program at Washburn Law allows students to formalize an area of specialization within the traditional law school curriculum.

Certificates may be earned in the following areas: