Denver Bar Association
April 2009
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In a Recession, Young Lawyers Form Labor Union

by Becky Bye

These tough times have imposed difficulties on many lawyers, particularly the newer and younger ones. With lack of job security, continued pay cuts and targeted layoffs, new attorneys are finding themselves subjected to the worst of the turbulence.

Thus, more than 50 attorneys from a variety of practices and backgrounds met on Feb. 25 at the headquarters of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations to discuss solutions to their ongoing conditions. I was invited, due to my involvement with The Docket.

At the meeting, these attorneys rallied for life, liberty, property and their rights to a prosperous career in the law. They determined that the only way young lawyers could have a strong, effective voice within the legal profession was to form a labor union. They discussed common inequities and came to one conclusion: an injury to one is the concern of all. Accordingly, the Loyal Legion of Lawyers was created.

Its motto? Looking out for the journey of the young attorney.

Samuel Rompers, a labor law attorney and co-founder/spokesperson of LLL, discussed the purposes of the new organization. "We’re here to help. We all know the atrocities young lawyers face. Surfing the Internet. Having to actually talk to other people for work. Eating lunch in less than two hours. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. We’re here to bring attention to this situation. We’re here to make this world a better place."

Of course, opposition to the LLL union remains strong. Martha Jones, an attorney for the Lawyers Against Lawyer Unionization Union, a union that is opposed to unions, said that unionization would yield dire results not just for the legal profession, but for the world: "Bah humbug," she added, after her tirade.

The collective bargaining group for new lawyers will require its members to pay dues of $250 per year. In return, the union’s elected board will negotiate with law firms and other employers for wages, bonus amounts, 401(k) matches and mandatory 6 weeks’ vacation, in addition to taking off the last Friday of every month for union happy hours (or "retreats, emphasis on the ‘treat!’" as one member exclaimed).

Besides these great perks, the LLL offers job search assistance and a guaranteed preference in job placement. It also assures its members and future members that they will never have to work more than eight hours in any given day. As a benefit, the LLL operates a 24-hour hotline offering services ranging from carpool organization and pizza delivery, to office decorating advice and personal trainers. Members will receive matching funds in their dues accounts.

Rompers said that union’s fiscal operations would "primarily be derived from our nation’s stimulus package — nowhere else. We would never want our members to have to cover the entire cost of their benefits."

It’s time for young lawyers to create their own self-serving policies and mandate that the CBA, the ABA, law firms, and the Supreme Courts of our nation adhere to them, Rompers said. Finally, he said, young or new lawyers will "finally have a voice that is heard ’round the world and your rights will be recognized by all!"

Jimmy Hoffa, to many the godfather of unions, once said, "No lawyer should ever excite his employer that he has found a new way to beat a Union. Because it doesn’t work."

Well, apparently the new mantra for LLL is that if you can’t beat them, join them.

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