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Chicago-Kent College of Law




When I graduated from law school in 1985, there were no courses offered in employee benefits law. Nor, as near as I can recall, was ERISA ever discussed in any of the labor and employment classes I took. There was no mention in the introductory labor law course or in other classes about employment discrimination, union organizing, and employment arbitration. Now, in contrast, many law schools include a course on employee benefits and ERISA, and students hoping to work in the labor and employment area frequently find that ERISA work is plentiful, and traditional NLRA work is not. This, of course, reflects larger changes in the market for legal services. This past term, the U.S. Supreme Court did not decide a single NLRA case. There is anecdotal evidence which suggests that unions avoid federal litigation whenever possible, because the courts are perceived to be hostile to their interests. Whatever the explanation, the action in the labor and employment arena has clearly moved from traditional labor law to employment law and employee benefits.



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