The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, was founded in 1995 on the 60th anniversary of the National Labor Relations Board and the 30th anniversary of Title VII and Executive Order 11246. The College began as a non -profit professional association honoring the leading lawyers nationwide in the practice of Labor and Employment Law. It has now evolved to become an intellectual and practical resource for the support of our profession and our many audiences. The primary purpose of the College is recognition of individuals, sharing knowledge and delivering value to the many different groups who can benefit from its value model.
Three lawyers, Stephen E. Tallent of Washington, DC, Charles A. ("Butch") Powell, III of Birmingham, Alabama and Don MacDonald of Denver, Colorado played a strong role in the establishment of the College. With the support of numerous Section members, the American Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law Section voted to assist in the establishment of the College and sponsored the installation of the inaugural class of elected Fellows in Orlando, Florida in August of 1996.
The elected Board of Governors assumed office with members from four constituencies: management lawyers, primarily representing employers (both as in-house and outside counsel); union lawyers, primarily representing unions (both as in-house and outside counsel); neutrals, who are government officials, arbitrators or scholars, and lawyers who represent individual employees.
"My election as a Fellow of the College in 1996 began a journey that has led to enjoying the formation of enormously rewarding and lasting professional and social relationships with some of the Nation's outstanding labor and employment lawyers, judges and government officials."
- Maurice Wexler
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
"Undoubtedly the highest honor that can be accorded an attorney or mediator/arbitrator practicing in the area of labor and employment law is to be selected as a Fellow in the College, as it reflects the high esteem in which you are held by your fellow practioners."
- J. Fredric Ingram
“Americans have mixed views about elitism. But almost everybody loves champions -- persons who perform the best in their field. And to be selected by one's peers for the College, "best" doesn't mean just doing well -- it also means doing good in the fullness of that term.”
- Theodore J. St. Antoine
Degan Professor Emeritus of Law
University of Michigan Law School
"The College includes the senior leaders of our specialized area of practice, and the friendships developed thru the College are among the most important of my career. It is an honor and privilege to be a part of such a distinguished group."
- Homer L. Deakins Jr.
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
"Service to the College has been among my most gratifying professional activity. I can’t think of a nicer group of colleagues with whom to celebrate the joys and satisfactions of labor and employment law practice."
- John E. Sands
Arbitrator and Mediator
"I was honored by my selection as a member of the college. I particularly enjoyed meeting, working, and socializing with management and union lawyers who I otherwise would not have met."
- Paul H. Tobias
Tobias, Torchia & Simon
"I know I may always contact a Fellow for friendly and professional discourse, to “pick their brains” on cutting edge issues, and to come up with good practical and legal solutions to current labor and employment law issues, or for those issues that have not yet come to the surface."
- Evan J. Spelfogel
Epstein Becker Green
New York, NY
"It is a comfort and a privilege to be able to contact known competent counsel when one has a question or a need for co-counsel around the country."
- Lawrence Ashe
Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs LLP
"First and foremost, membership in the College allows us to enjoy the company of accomplished colleagues and friends who share close professional bonds. But, there is more. Through our video history project, we recognize those who have given much to our country and have honored our Bar. Through our regional programs and writing competition we learn from those who are now and those who will be contributing to the practice of labor and employment law. And, as a College we have the privilege to articulate the standards by which we wish our Bar to be known."
- William J. Kilberg
"It was an honor to be asked to join three other future Fellows of the College as one of the Founding Governors. The prospect of creating an organization where one is nominated by one’s peers for admission based on shared interests and achievements in the field was exciting. As one of five female Founding Governor (and, later, the first female President of the College), I made it my personal goal to assist in building diverse membership which would foster the best environment for the exchange of ideas. Along with Susan Wan, who, at that time, was a fledgling administrative staff person, the four of us ― Butch, Steve, Don, and me ― worked tirelessly those first few years to build the expansive membership that the College enjoys today. There were bumps along the way, but we persevered and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers was born."
- Vicki Lafer Abrahamson
Abrahamson Vorachek & Levinson