Richard Dorn chose labor law as the focus of his career early in law school. He wanted to represent unions and workers and to be an advocate for social and economic justice. Now, decades later, he cannot conceive of doing anything else. “You have to be ideologically committed to effectively represent unions and employees,” Dick observes. “You have to be actively involved, meet the employees, discuss situations with them, listen to them and be able to think and act fairly quickly.”
Dick was in the trenches with Local 1199 Hospital Workers Union during its formative years. Back then, he was a member of Sipser, Weinstock, Harper and Dorn, where, he says, he was “immediately thrown into the nitty gritty, handling a lot of union organizing petitions when 1199 was starting to organize on a larger scale.” Those assignments led to administrative work before the NLRB, PERB and OCB, arbitration proceedings, actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, negotiations, injunctive and contempt proceedings. During those years at Sipser, Weinstock, Dick represented health care workers, automobile workers, furniture workers, optical workers, brewery workers and public unions and employees.
Dick joined Levy Ratner in 2001 and has continued to represent health care workers, teamsters and utility workers among other unions. An accomplished litigator, Dick has tried cases and argued appeals in state and federal courts in New York and in Federal courts in New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. He has argued appeals in the Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Ninth and DC circuits. He also has undertaken considerable pro bono work for both unions and individuals in discrimination and labor related matters. Dick comments, “I’ve always tried to use my time and energy to help achieve a society that recognizes and helps its less advantaged and working class members.”
Despite the political and legal challenges to unions over the years, Dick believes that the role of union lawyers is essentially the same. “You still have to represent clients to the best of your ability, be flexible, come up with ideas, to think outside the box.”
Admitted to practice in New York