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Suffolk University Law Review

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The topic of this symposium issue sponsored by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) is the role of the labor and employment law professor as a public intellectual. Despite the baggage accompanying the phrase "public intellectual," the symposium topic is an important one, for the term carries more meaning than a mere "talking head" or "media figure" can express. To make theoretical ideas more accessible to others, to connect theory and practice, to explain academic or scholarly ideas in a way that the public can understand—these ideas resonate with my philosophy of the law professor's role. In fact, this is the essence of what we strive for as labor and employment law professors, and, to that end, this piece concludes with some advice for others who, like me, are relative newcomers to the academy.

This article concentrates on what I believe can be a fruitful collaboration between labor and employment law professors and groups (worker centers) that provide educational, financial, and technical legal assistance to workers. While I have written some op-ed pieces about worker rights and have written for several law professor web logs about employment law topics, these activities are more about educating the public than any sort of yearning for public recognition. This discussion begins with several key assumptions, none of which are particularly radical. The first assumption is that most employment law professors ground their discussion of the law in the experiences of workers and management. The second assumption is that most—if not all—law professors have a desire to reform labor and employment laws in ways that promote the well-being of workers while at the same time allowing businesses and entrepreneurs to maintain a competitive advantage



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