- Division of Advice (Regional Advice Branch and Injunction Litigation Branch)
- Division of Enforcement Litigation (Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Branch, Contempt Litigation & Compliance Branch, Special Litigation Branch, Office of Appeals)
The Division of Advice, located within the Office of the General Counsel in Washington, D.C., consists of two branches -- the Regional Advice Branch and the Injunction Litigation Branch.
The Regional Advice Branch provides guidance to the General Counsel and to the Regional Offices with respect to difficult or novel legal issues arising in the processing of unfair labor practice charges. It determines whether charges have merit and, if so, what legal theories should be advanced in support. If the decision is to dismiss a charge, it sets forth the theories that support that decision. In either case, the guidance must take into account the current law and agency policies as well as an analysis of how those legal principles and policies may be evolving.
The Injunction Litigation Branch implements, in conjunction with the Regional Offices, the General Counsel's Section 10(j) program to obtain interim injunctions to restore or preserve the status quo where necessary to preserve the effectiveness of the Board's ultimate remedial order. The Branch evaluates Regional recommendations for seeking interim injunctive relief and drafts recommendations to the Board in cases in which the General Counsel recommends seeking such relief. It provides to Regional Offices resource materials and training on the investigation and litigation of Section 10(j) cases. The Branch also advises and assists Regions in the litigation of both Section 10(j) and Section 10(l) injunction cases in federal district courts, and directly handles all appellate litigation in such cases.
Requirements for Law Student positions:
Second or third year law student. Basic labor law course preferred but not required. Strong research and writing skills.
Requirements for Staff Attorney positions:
Law school graduate and licensed attorney (or admission within one year of hire). Labor law course(s) and/or experience in labor relations field preferred. Strong research and writing skills.
Send resume and unedited writing sample to:
Barry J. Kearney, Associate General Counsel
Division of Advice
NLRB Office of the General Counsel
1099 14th Street, N.W., Suite 10406
Washington, D.C. 20570
The function of the Contempt Litigation and Compliance Branch is to conduct civil and criminal contempt litigation in the U.S. Courts of Appeals to coerce compliance or to punish non-compliance with judgments enforcing orders of the Board; to obtain protective orders to ensure that assets will not be dissipated in an effort to avoid the payment of backpay judgments; to institute and monitor ancillary collection proceedings; to assist the Regional Offices in bankruptcy proceedings filed by respondents; and to obtain other injunctive relief pendente lite. Contempt litigation is nation-wide in scope, affects all segments of industry and applies to all unfair labor practices proscribed by law. Through this litigation, compliance with orders of the Board that have been enforced by judgments of the U.S. Courts of Appeals and other orders of the Courts of Appeals is obtained, and the policies enunciated in the National Labor Relations Act and the orders of the courts are effectuated.
Work in the Contempt Branch is centered in four primary areas: civil contempt, criminal contempt, protective order/collection work and compliance guidance. Civil contempt actions involve, among other things, evidentiary investigations, the drafting of internal legal memoranda, the drafting of court pleadings, civil discovery (document production, requests for admissions, depositions, interrogatories), motions practice, bench trials, the drafting of appellate briefs and the presentation of appellate arguments.
Criminal contempt actions involve, in addition to much of the work detailed above, grand jury work and jury trials.
The Contempt Branch is also responsible for obtaining injunctive relief in order to ensure compliance with enforced Board orders, engaging in affirmative bankruptcy litigation and collection work, and providing guidance and assistance to the Board's Regional Offices in enforcement and compliance matters.
Currently 10 attorneys, one paralegal and one legal secretary staff the Branch. The Branch also operates a year-round law student employment program.
The mailing address of the Branch is Contempt Litigation and Compliance Branch, National Labor Relations Board, Suite 10700, 1099 14th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20570. The main telephone number for the Branch is (202) 273-3740, and the Branch facsimile number is (202) 273-4244.
Trial Attorney Positions
Attorneys conduct civil and criminal contempt litigation and related litigation work, including injunction and collection proceedings, involving compliance with the provisions of the Board's Decisions and Orders and court decrees enforcing such Orders. Some of the duties include:
- Analyzing reports from Regional Offices to determine if contempt proceedings or ancillary proceedings should be instituted, and, where necessary, obtaining additional information to assure sufficiency of evidence;
- Preparing contempt recommendations for consideration by the Board, and upon authorization, conducting grand jury proceedings and/or preparing pleadings, affidavits, motions, supporting briefs, etc. necessary to initiate and prosecute cases;
- Negotiating with parties to obtain compliance, if possible, without further litigation and drafting appropriate documents;
- If civil contempt litigation is warranted, preparing motions for reference to a special master, drafting interrogatories, requests for production and requests for admissions, conducting depositions, interviewing witnesses, preparing for and conducting trials, and preparing post-trial briefs to the special master and to the Courts of Appeals.
- If criminal contempt litigation is warranted, obtaining indictments and conducting criminal trials in conjunction with U.S. Attorney's offices;
- Presenting oral arguments to the Courts of Appeals and other courts;
- Obtaining protective orders to assure that assets will not be dissipated;
- Conducting litigation involving garnishments, executions and attachments under the Federal Debt Collection Act and the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act to collect backpay judgments, fines and attorneys fees;
- Assisting Regions in conducting offensive litigation in bankruptcy courts in connection with all facets of collection proceedings.
Law Student Positions
The Branch administers a law student program for students who have completed at least their first year of law school. Candidates must have strong research and writing skills, and it is preferred, although not required, that they have taken the basic Labor Law and Federal Civil Procedure courses.
Law students assist the trial attorneys in investigating contempt allegations, preparing internal legal memoranda, drafting discovery documents, preparing for trial and drafting appellate briefs.
Where possible, law students will participate in discovery proceedings and assist attorneys at trial. The availability of paid positions depends on budgetary considerations. The Branch will cooperate with any university- sponsored program providing for academic credit. The program operates during the school year as well as during the summer.
The paralegal is responsible for preparing legal documents and litigation pleadings, interpreting and applying appropriate court rules, practices and procedures, and performing various research and investigative assignments. Some of the specific duties include:
- Reviews contempt recommendation submissions received from Regions and analyzes and evaluates case files against case litigation worthiness standards before sending the case on to the assigned trial attorney;
- Reviews and analyzes available precedents relevant to cases under consideration for use in presenting case summaries to trial attorneys;
- Interviews witnesses;
- Drafts requests for certified court judgments, applications for post- judgment execution and garnishment, motions for order of reference and default, and other legal documents;
- Shepardizes cases and performs legal research through the use of a variety of legal reference materials and assembles and summarizes the information for use by Contempt Branch lawyers;
- Assists in preparation for trial by compiling, organizing and indexing evidence;
- Conducts corporate and asset investigations through computerized databases provided through contracts with outside vendors.
Attorneys and paralegals who are interested in applying for a permanent position should send their resume and an unedited writing sample to Stanley Zirkin, Assistant General Counsel, Contempt Litigation and Compliance Branch, National Labor Relations Board, Suite 10700, 1099 14th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20570. Law students who are interested in applying for a position should send their resume and an unedited writing sample to Assistant General Counsel Stanley Zirkin at the above address. If you have any questions regarding the law student program, please call Trial Attorney Joan Sullivan, (202) 273-3742
The Special Litigation Branch is primarily responsible for representing the Board or the General Counsel, as a party or amicus, in litigation in the U.S. District and Bankruptcy Courts, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals, in all cases except those arising directly from the enforcement of Board Decisions and Orders. These cases often involve politically sensitive issues and have a high public profile. While knowledge of the National Labor Relations Act is necessary, the Branch's litigation generally involves cases brought under the Equal Access to Justice Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Bankruptcy Code, the Privacy Act, and actions brought to mandate or prohibit specific conduct by the Board, the General Counsel and other Agency personnel. The Branch's caseload also includes appellate and contempt litigation in subpoena enforcement proceedings and rulemaking litigation. It is the Special Litigation Branch which represents the Agency when it intervenes or appears in litigation in federal or state courts in which the Board feels that a question affecting its jurisdiction or processes is presented. Finally, the Branch is an advisor to the Board's Regional Offices concerning any of the above issues or statutes.
An attorney in the Special Litigation Branch will be involved in some of the most factually complex and legally difficult questions occurring in the Agency. Under the guidance of his or her supervisors, the attorney is responsible for developing the legal theories on which the case will be presented, and for the necessary research of the law and other supporting authorities. The attorney then prepares all necessary pleadings, including motions, briefs, and replies. In cases requiring Board authorization for the Agency's participation, the attorney will prepare initial recommendations to the General Counsel, and any subsequent memoranda from the General Counsel to the Board, recommending a given course of action. Finally, absent unusual circumstances, the attorney will represent the Board in the U.S. District and Bankruptcy Courts, in the U.S. Courts of Appeals, and in the state courts, to argue and defend the Board's positions and the constitutionality of the Act or its application.
The Branch also administers a law student employment program for students who have completed at least their first year of law school. Candidates must have strong research and writing skills, and it is preferred, although not required, that they have taken basic labor law or Federal Civil Procedure. The availability of paid positions depends on budgetary considerations. The Branch will cooperate with any university- sponsored program providing for academic credit. The program operates during the school year as well as the summer.
An attorney or law student interested in applying for a position with the Special Litigation Branch should submit a copy of their resume, law school transcript and an unedited writing sample to Abby P. Simms, Deputy Assistant General Counsel, Special Litigation Branch, NLRB, Suite 8600, 1099 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20570.
The primary function of the Office of Appeals is to review, on behalf of the General Counsel, appeals of decisions by the Regional Directors to dismiss or defer unfair labor practice charges. Procedures governing such appeals are set forth in Section 102.19 of the Board's Rules and Regulations. The General Counsel has sole authority to review and sustain or deny these appeals and the decisions in such cases are not subject to review by the National Labor Relations Board or in any court.
When an appeal is filed, the full investigatory file developed in the Regional Office is forwarded to the Office. The case is then assigned to a staff attorney for review. This attorney, in conjunction with his or her supervisor, is expected to review the facts developed in the field investigation, identify the legal issues involved, find the relevant case law; and orally and in writing analyze whether, based on case precedent, the decision of the Regional Director should be reversed. When a reversal is recommended, or where, due to the novelty of the legal issues presented or the notoriety of the case, review by the General Counsel is desirable, the attorney, with the assistance of his or her supervisor, will present the case to either the Assistant Director or Director of the Office and ultimately to the General Counsel for decision. Meetings with the General Counsel are held weekly for the purpose of discussing cases identified by the Office as deserving of General Counsel review. The Office of Appeals also reviews appeals from Regional Directors' refusals to provide information from Regional office files to requesting parties seeking documents and records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Office of Appeals has a tradition of innovative legal work under FOIA and has been instrumental in assisting the General Counsel in developing the policy of disclosure of records in the Agency investigative files and on e-mail under FOIA.
A newly-hired staff attorney will become quickly immersed in the leading labor law issues on a daily basis. Case assignments cover each and every section of the Act as it pertains to allegations surrounding unfair labor practice charges filed by Employers, Unions and individuals. Superior research and writing skills are a prerequisite for a staff attorney position and a familiarity with the Act as part of the applicant's law school curriculum would be an asset.
A law student intern in the Office of Appeals would be responsible with the assistance of supervision for organizing facts from the agency investigative files; ascertaining the substantive legal issues; interpreting relevant case law; interpreting and construing pertinent provisions of the Act; analyzing and presenting oral and written reports of cases at various levels of supervision including the General Counsel's agenda and preparing disposition letters and memoranda. A legal internship is available in the Office of Appeals through the Peggy Browning Fund Summer Intern program and through cooperative education agreements with law schools whereby law students work in the Office for scholastic credit.