Lawyer represents both employers, employees
Lori Goldstein turned 27 years experience as an employement attorney in to a successful private practice on the North Shore. | Jackie Pilossph~For Sun-Times Media
Law Office of Lori A. Goldstein
Updated: November 20, 2012 11:32AM
Lori Goldstein was a journalism major in college, who took a required media and law class taught by an attorney, and said she fell in love with studying the law. That’s what led her to law school, and specifically into employment law.
“I took employment discrimination classes in law school and I knew immediately I wanted to be in this field,” said Goldstein, who attended University of Illinois for both college and law school, “I’m into fairness. The work is so rewarding.”
Goldstein worked for a pair of downtown law firms for 27 years before starting her own practice in 2011. The decision to go out on her own was based in part on the client base she’d built, and that she saw a need on the North Shore for an employment attorney who was accessible, convenient, and had flexible rates.
When she he went out on her own, Goldstein said she also made another big change.
“Up until now, I only represented employers,” she said, “I handled day to day issues, and questions like, ‘Can I fire this person?’ ‘Should I be paying overtime?’ or ‘This person wants a leave of absence, how do I handle it?’ Now I continue to represent employers, but I help employees, too.”
Goldstein represents individuals who feel they were wrongfully let go. She assesses whether it was illegal or unfair, and if so, works on getting the client a severance package. She also reviews group and individual termination packages for clients.
Another part of her business is advising people who are working and having issues in the workplace, specifically discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying.
“I get a lot of calls from employees who have a manager or co-worker who is bullying them, meaning the person is being condescending, embarrassing them, insulting them and criticizing them not in a constructive way.”
The amount of work Goldstein does with employers is still large, however, especially due to the economy.
“I’m seeing a lot of companies doing reductions and I work with them on other economic alternatives to try to avoid group layoffs, such as furloughs, reduced schedules, and reduced pay,” she said, “It’s really hard to do it, but sometimes it’s the best alternative because at least people are keeping their jobs and insurance.”
Phila Broich was the Chief Talent Officer and Partner at CAHG, a pharmaceutical marketing firm, and worked with Goldstein for seven years.
“Lori was our outside council, who worked with us on employee relations issues, layoffs, and anything related to human capital management legal issues,” said Broich, who has since left the company and is now the senior vice president of talent development at public relations firm, Fleishman-Hillard, “She would help us in terms of recommendations, and drawing up contracts and legal documents.”
When asked how she feels about being part of a company layoff, Goldstein said it’s very difficult, but that her role makes things better for the employees being let go.
“I never feel good about putting people out of work, and I always try to talk to companies about other alternatives,” she said, “Believe me, I’m sensitive to the economy and the unemployment rate and the length of time it takes to find another job.”
Goldstein sits on the board of Career Resource Center, an organization that offers job searching strategies, interview coaching, mentoring and other support for individuals in the job market.
“Lori is a rock star,” said Broich, “She has a great ability to listen to what’s going on, and to ask the right questions. She’s a strong, solid counselor who stays grounded yet she has a compassion for the people involved.”