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Robert P. Brooks, shareholder at Adler Pollock and Sheehan PC, was recently named one of the top 20 most powerful labor attorneys in the nation by Lawdragon Magazine and Human Resource Executive. Candidates for this list usually have impressive recommendations, a list of noteworthy accomplishments and have practiced for more than 20 years. Brooks has represented employers in employment-discrimination matters and a variety of labor arbitration and administrative proceedings. The current chairman of the firm’s labor and employment practice group and a member of its executive and diversity committees, Brooks holds a B.A. from Rhode Island College and a J.D. from Suffolk University.
PBN: You were one of four attorneys in New England selected for the top 20 list of the most powerful labor attorneys in the nation. What’s your secret to success?
BROOKS: I don’t know if you can call this a secret to success, but I thoroughly enjoy what I do. Labor law is a very broad area, and it is always changing. It is also never boring. I enjoy the challenge of digging into a complex case, or trying to find the solution in a difficult collective-bargaining negotiation.
PBN: What’s unique about your specialty?
BROOKS: Being a successful labor attorney requires competency in a number of different legal skills. One day a labor attorney might be practicing administrative law, dealing with the many different federal and state agencies that regulate both the union/management relationship. The next day, a labor attorney might be litigating a case in court. A labor attorney is also required to be an expert draftsman of contracts, a persuasive writer and a skillful negotiator of collective-bargaining agreements. I really can’t think of any area of law that requires competency in so many different legal skill sets.
PBN: How has practicing labor law informed your opinion on current workplace legislation?
BROOKS: In our practice at Adler Pollock and Sheehan, we represent management most of the time. Therefore, I view proposed legislation on the federal and state levels with an eye toward how that legislation will impact the employer, its business and its responsibility to its employees. I tend to disagree with legislation that will make it more expensive for an employer to operate its business, or will restrict the employer’s flexibility in managing its operation. •