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Abstract

Given the still-rebounding legal market and the secrecy that characterized the employment decisions at many of the nation’s top law firms during the height of attorney layoffs, this Article imagines the formation of private attorney labor unions as a possible solution. Part I briefly discusses the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, the primary piece of legislation that governs employees’ right to organize and collectively bargain, focusing primarily on who is covered with particular attention placed on the inclusion of professional employees. Part II introduces an understanding of white-collar professionals as a distinct economic class, highlighting specifically its similarities and differences with traditional blue-collar workers. This Part then uses this understanding of white-collar professionals to describe and justify the white-collar unionization movement, while also noting the formation of unions in other professional industries. Proceeding upon the understanding that private law attorneys, as white-collar professionals, possess a legitimate interest in organizing, Part III identifies and responds to common objections to the formation of attorney labor unions. Finally, Part IV suggests that current conditions are ripe for the creation of private attorney labor unions and addresses the practical considerations associated with forming such unions.