Human Capital (which used to be called “Human Resources”) is generating a great many, diverse job opportunities for attorneys. Whether your inclination is towards pensions and benefits, labor and employee relations, ADR and mediation, EEO, administrative litigation, or career advising, there is something here for you.
Selected Law-Related Job Titles
Human capital is increasingly important to employers in every industry and employment sector. One of the principal reasons for this is the reversal of company asset values over the past 25 years. In the mid-1980s, hard assets accounted for almost 70 percent of corporate asset values. Today, that number is closer to 20 percent, with the other four-fifths being intellectual assets. The knowledge that employees amass and carry around within them is central to corporate success and survival.
The following selected human capital job titles are the most prevalent in both the private and public sectors. The boldfaced job titles are described in more detail following the list.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialist
- Employee Benefit Plan Specialist
- Employee Disability Programs Manager
- Employee Relations Manager/Specialist
- Employment and Training Specialist
- Equal Opportunity Compliance Specialist
- Government Benefits Director
- Human Resources Compliance Officer
- Human Resources Director
- Lawyer Temporary Agency Manager
- Labor Relations Specialist
- Labor-Management Relations Examiner
- Legal Career Counselor
- Legal Search Consultant
- Manpower Development Specialist
- Medicare Appeals Appointed Representative
- Pension Law Specialist
- Personnel Management Specialist
- Professional Standards Administrator
- Reemployment Rights Compliance Specialist
- Retirement Systems Administrator
- Salary Administration Specialist
- Social Security Disability Claimant Representative
- Veterans Appeals Representative
- Veterans Program Specialist
- Veterans Reemployment Rights Specialist
Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialist and Mediator have become central to the human capital function in both companies and government. The escalation in grievance filings by disgruntled employees makes it essential that employers attempt to resolve workplace disputes before they become court cases. ADR Specialists and Mediators in the federal government, for example, work for 80 distinct offices established to deal only with workplace disputes. That is out of 82 ADR offices altogether.
Human Resources (HR) Compliance has become a major concern of corporate, university, hospital and other employer compliance offices.
The HR function has become so “legalized” over the past two decades that it is no longer unusual to find companies and even government agencies that seek attorneys for their HR Director positions.
The Pension Law Specialist (or equivalent) job title, heretofore found exclusively in the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, is now spreading into state governments and the private sector as well, as unfunded pension liabilities mount into the trillions.
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) Claims Representatives, Medicare Appeals Appointed Representatives, and Veterans Appeals Representatives are probably the most promising job titles under the Human Capital label. The number of SSDI claims (3.5 million per year and climbing), Medicare claims and veterans benefits claims are skyrocketing, with no end in sight. The administrative appeals structures that hear these claims are being taxed to the breaking point. All three of these job titles represent enormous opportunity.
Positioning Yourself for a Human Capital Job
There are a large and growing number of certificate and equivalent programs that can enhance your law degree if you are bound for a career or job dealing with human capital matters. These are both far less expensive and less time consuming than enrolling in an LLM or other Master’s program, and the drop-off in value as perceived by employers is minimal, if it exists at all.
A selection of such programs follows:
- Cornell University—Master Certificate in Human Resources (online)
- Pace University—Essentials of Human Resource Law Certificate
- Society for Human Resource Management
Professional in Human Resources
- Southern New Hampshire University—Certificate in Human Resources Management (online)
- Human Capital Institute—Human Capital Strategist Designation
- Villanova University—Master Certificate in Human Resource Management (online)
- Institute for Applied Management and Law
Certificate in Employee Relations LawSM
Advanced Certificate in Employment LawSM
Certificate in Making Employment Workplace DecisionsSM
Certificate in Employee Benefits LawSM
Advanced Certificate in Employee Benefits LawSM
Once you have the certificate in hand, make sure that it is one of the first things that a prospective employer gets to see in your resume. One very effective way to do that is to lead your resume with something like the following:
“Jane Doe, JD, Certificate in Employment Law”
Next: What Else Is Out There? Legal Career Alternatives, Part XV – Human Services