Catherine Fisk teaches Employment Law, Labor Law, Civil Procedure, and Understanding the U.S. Legal Profession. She is a Faculty Director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Work and the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology.
Professor Fisk is the author of several books. Her first, Working Knowledge: Employee Innovation and the Rise of Corporate Intellectual Property, 1800-1930 (University of North Carolina Press, 2009, 2014), won prizes from the American Society for Legal History and the American Historical Association. In her next book, Writing for Hire: Unions, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue (Harvard University Press, 2016), Fisk explored the law and norms of credit and compensation for writing, contrasting the writer-protective rules negotiated by unionized writers in film and TV with far less protective norms developed in non-union advertising. Fisk is the co-author of four books for use in law school and legal studies classes: Labor Law in the Contemporary Workplace (3d ed. 2019), The Legal Profession: Ethics in Contemporary Practice (2d ed. 2019), What Lawyers Do: Understanding the Many American Legal Practices (2020), and Labor Law Stories (2005). Her next book will examine the professional identities of lawyers who represented activist, multi-racial, and politically progressive unions in the mid-twentieth century.
Fisk has published over 100 articles and essays in leading publications including, most recently, California Law Review, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Harvard Law Review Forum, Yale Law Journal Forum, Law and History Review, Ohio State Law Journal, and Indiana Law Journal. Her recent articles address the intersection of antitrust, labor, and copyright law in structuring labor relations in American theatre, the crafting of New Deal era labor and social welfare legislation, social movement lawyering, free speech rights of worker organizations and in the workplace, new forms of labor organizing, and police unions.
Professor Fisk’s current public service and pro bono legal work includes filing amicus briefs on various labor and employment law issues, service on the Advisory Board of the Berkeley Labor Center, the board of directors of the American Society for Legal History and the boards of directors of two Bay Area workers’ rights nonprofits, and occasional service as an arbitrator under collectively bargained labor contracts. Before joining the Berkeley faculty in 2017, she was on the law faculties at UC Irvine, Duke University, the University of Southern California, and Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. Prior to entering academia, Fisk practiced civil appellate litigation and union-side labor law in Washington, D.C., and clerked on the Ninth Circuit. Fisk received an AB summa cum laude from Princeton University and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was elected to Order of the Coif.
AB, Princeton University (1983)
JD, University of California, Berkeley (1986)
LLM, University of Wisconsin (1995)
Catherine Laura Fisk is not teaching any Law courses in Spring 2024.
Courses During Other Semesters
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|Understanding the U.S. Legal Profession
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|Current Issues in Work Law
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Elon Musk is suing to stop the government from enforcing labor laws. The Supreme Court might agree with him
“This is an effort by a group of lawyers who are foes of the administrative state and the New Deal-era legislation that created the NLRB and the SEC to essentially end enforcement of those statutes,” says Catherine Fisk, an employment and labor law authority at UC Berkeley law school.
Host Elizabeth Binczik speaks with Professor Catherine Fisk about the combination of labor wins this year and what 2023 could mean for labor moving forward.
“The power of police is not just that they have guns and have a high degree of solidarity in their unions,” said UC Berkeley law Professor Catherine Fisk. “The power is the political threat that elected officials feel.”
“There’s only so much the administration can do without action from Congress,” said Catherine L. Fisk, professor of labor and employment law at Berkeley Law. “Expanding the liability chain for businesses that have illegal child labor present in their supply chains would be the best way to tackle the crisis.”
Professor Catherine Fisk, a faculty director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Work, talks with Law360 about why she thinks stronger laws are crucial and a moral imperative.
“Changing the language of a program by itself is not enough to avoid litigation and the design of DEI programs must make clear that there is no racial, gender, religious, or national origin exclusion,” said Professor Catherine Fisk..
A full crowd hears about the push to strengthen unions and the surging labor movement from Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, chief officer of the 2.1 million-member California Labor Federation.
“The court opened the door to arguments like Whole Foods’,” said University of California at Berkeley law professor Catherine Fisk. “I expect we will see a lot more.”
Negotiating collectively could help boxers reap the benefits that other professional sports players have long enjoyed, said Catherine Fisk, an employment and labor law professor at the University of California Berkeley School of Law
“Streaming has given the studios one more way to exploit writers—and the writers are pushing back,” writes Catherine L. Fisk, faculty director of Berkeley Law’s Center for Law and Work.
“The National Labor Relations Act was intended to provide clarity and solid ground on which employees and employers could resolve their differences,” write Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Professor Catherine Fisk. “With Thursday’s ruling, the justices have done the opposite, and workers will pay the price.”
“No question there are a lot of minimum labor law standards in California, and I understand why employers find them onerous to comply with, not to mention expensive,” said UC Berkeley law professor Catherine Fisk, who wrote a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of a group of California labor and employment law professors opposed to Prop. 22. She added that she’s “disappointed” by the appeals court decision.
Professor of Law Catherine Fisk discusses California’s Prop. 22 and Assembly Bill No. 5.
“For decades, conservatives have preached judicial restraint and deference to the political process, write Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Professor Catherine Fisk of Berkeley Law. “But that doesn’t seem to apply when they don’t like government regulation of business. They will surely use the 9th Circuit’s new decision and its fallacious reasoning to challenge a myriad of essential regulations needed to protect workers and consumers.”
Catherine Fisk, University of California, Berkeley Law professor, and Christina Chung, UC Berkeley Center for Law and Work executive director, argue that the US Supreme Court “simply misunderstood California law on PAGA standing; California law is clear that a plaintiff may litigate a PAGA action as a representative of the state for the labor law violations suffered by others regardless of whether the plaintiff must arbitrate her own claim.”
Berkeley Law professor, Catherine Fisk comments on the decision of the California Court of appeals to uphold Prop. 22.
The Supreme Court’s focus on the major questions doctrine could make the FTC’s clear power to issue the rule irrelevant, said Catherine Fisk, a workplace law professor at the University of California-Berkeley.
“There are lots of cases involving workers who work somewhat autonomously who have nevertheless successfully unionized,” said Catherine Fisk, professor of labor law at UC Berkeley School of Law.
University of California at Berkeley law professor Catherine Fisk discusses how the WARN Act may apply to the layoffs at Twitter.
“This legislation will show that you can actually do this without causing the economy to collapse,” said Catherine Fisk, faculty director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Work and the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology. “And so I think there’s nowhere to go but up from here.”