Labor and employment law governs the relationship between employers and employees. Generally, labor and employment lawyers represent either employers and management or employees and unions. There are many aspects to these law practices including counseling and compliance with existing labor laws, dealing with employee benefits and retirement according to federal standards (ERISA), and dealing with employment disputes, and labor relations.
Susan Stobbart Shapiro is director of the Annapolis law firm of Council Baradel, and leads its labor and employment practice area as well as its newer cyber security and information privacy area.
What inspired you to enter labor relations and later to get involved with data privacy and cyber security?
“I come from a background of small business so when I began practicing law, representing businesses was a natural fit.”
“Also, my parents’ company was sued for age discrimination when I was in grade school. The claim was defeated at trial because of solid employment practices and a terrific lawyer. The lesson stuck with me.”
“Over the last 10 years, I have become more and more involved with technology. Initially, my interest was purely how it could make my practice more efficient. Then, I got onto social media. While there is a wealth of information on Twitter even about employment law, there are also issues between social media and employment law. For example, ‘can an employer demand to see my Facebook page?’
“I joined the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council in 2012, and to make a long story short, met a lawyer who advises on data breach/data privacy law who educated me about the Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) accreditation from the International Association of Privacy Professionals. So, I joined the IAPP, and obtained the CIPP/US designation and later took the American Bar Association Cyber Security Series.”
How does your educational background relate to your current role?
“A person can’t practice law without going to law school or go to law school without graduating from college; so those two pieces were fundamental building blocks. But education can’t stop there. One has to constantly keep up with changing laws, and grapple with legal issues as they arise.”
How has your education helped to further your career and contribute to your success?
“The most important thing I learned in school was how to learn. Alvin Toffler said, ‘The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.’ I think this is true now more than ever.”
What is some advice you can offer others looking to go into employment law or the area of cyber security practice?
“Our country needs cyber security workers both on the legal side and on the IT side. Join your local tech council or take some classes: Anne Arundel Community College has a world-class cyber center; and it is very affordable. Learn . . .relearn.“
Susan Brown originally spent many years in banking/finance before confronting her addictions. She has now been in recovery for 20 years. Her current interests, in which she has several certifications, are metaphysics and the healing arts. She has written for Examiner.com since 2009 and also writes for Om Times.