What did you find most rewarding in being a contributing author of the D.C. Practice Manual?
I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to serve as the editor of the Employment law chapter of the D.C. Practice Manual over the past couple of years. What I’ve found most rewarding is the opportunity to work with the multiple authors that volunteer their time and expertise annually to revising the chapter’s eleven subchapters covering a wide range of employment topics. The chapter’s broad coverage is truly unique, and it is what makes the Practice Manual so valuable to me as a practitioner in D.C. Working on the chapter as an editor has given me tremendous insight into, and appreciation for, the complexity of DC employment practice.
How many people worked on this Employment Law Chapter?
This year, we had over nine attorneys collaborating on the chapter. It’s so rewarding to work with these experts from various specialties – our authors are truly dedicated to making sure that our annual revisions reflect the most current developments in D.C. law.
Connie Bertram, of Proskauer Rose, author of the D.C. Family Medical Leave Act and the D.C. Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act subchapters, is an expert in this area of the law and annually updates with recent cases and practice tips.
The DC EJC authored major revisions to sections on Unemployment insurance and Workers’ Compensation for D.C. government employees, reflecting changes to the District’s Public Sector Workers’ Compensation Program.
What do other Employment Law authors have to say about their experience updating the D.C. Practice Manual?
The author of subchapters Employment at Will and Wage-Hour Practice, R. Scott Oswald, The Employment Law Group, P.C., explained: “The finished product is indispensable, of course. But our firm also found the process of updating the manual to be tremendously useful. The discipline of reviewing each aspect of DC employment practice — of noting the substantive effect of new rules and statutes — of gathering nuggets from fellow practitioners: It was an education for our attorneys and staff, no matter their experience level. Everyone learned something. And now our clients are benefiting, too, as we navigate the system faster and more effectively.”
The subchapter on the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act, provides up-to-date guidance on procedural and substantive aspects of the Act. Subchapter author, Jason Zuckerman, reflected: “I originally drafted the chapter on the DC Whistleblower Protection Act and I have enjoyed updating it annually. Preparing the annual update is a great way to keep abreast of new developments. Tracking decisions construing the DC WPA spurred me to advocate for reform of the DC WPA, and ultimately, many of the reforms that I advocated were adopted by the DC Council in the Whistleblower Protection Amendment Act of 2009."
Who should have the practice manual in their law library?
I would recommend the manual to D.C. employment law practitioners, both to those new to practice in the District as well as practitioners who are familiar with the law. At my firm, Alden Law Group, PLLC, we frequently use the Employment chapter as resource to aid us in quickly spotting potential issues for our clients or for quick confirmation on almost any D.C.-specific issue – from procedures before the Office of Human Rights to leave entitlements under the DC FMLA and eligibility criteria for unemployment insurance.
Because DC has so many different regulatory and administrative bodies, it is very time consuming to track down and cross-reference the statutes and rules. I’ve found invaluable to have a single resource where I can quickly find clear and concise summaries of eligibility requirements and procedures under various DC statutes and regulations.
Further, many of these laws are recently amended, so it is vital as a practitioner to keep an eye on developing case law. We’ve worked hard on this chapter so that local attorneys can have a resource at their fingertips where they can find the most current information on employment practice in the District.
About Michelle Bercovici:
She represents clients in matters relating to employment and labor in state and federal courts and before federal and local agencies. Since 2007 she has been an attorney with Alden Law Group, PLLC, devoting her practice primarily to representing federal sector employees and unions as well as private sector employees and organizations in DC and MD. Ms. Bercovici is co-chair of the DC Bar Labor and Employment Law Section Steering Committee and a 2013 graduate of the D.C. Bar Leadership Academy. Ms. Bercovici graduated from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill with a B.F.A. in Art History and earned her J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law. She is a proud resident of the District of Columbia.