LAI is always interested in economists with Ph.D.s whose focus is on labor economics, human capital, or related fields. From time to time, we are interested in those with master’s degrees as well. Those with a master’s degree work with the senior economists and are encouraged to seek their Ph.D. at some future time.
Time spent at LAI is distributed between “billable hours” for case related work and individual research, if desired. We use economic theory and large publically available data sets to focus on the decisions individuals face regarding educational and occupational choices, labor force participation, non-market activities, such as household work, savings and expenditures and investment in health and leisure. Day-to-day work involves applying the principles and methods of human capital theory to issues related to the cases on which LAI has been retained. Our senior economists communicate continually with each other, either within an office, through telephone or via video conferencing.
When you start with LAI as a new Ph.D., you enter as a Senior Economist. The first year usually consists of working in a supportive capacity with one or more other seniors, as well as LAI’s research staff. You will participate in the discussion of the firm’s work on cases with the clients who retained us, primarily lawyers or claims professionals. Eventually, you will graduate to the role of lead expert. In that capacity, you will direct the work performed on your cases by other economists and researchers. Eventually, you will become the witness named on the cases and will testify in those that proceed to deposition or trial.
Independent research activities are supported and encouraged and graduate-trained researchers are employed to support our economists’ research. Our economists are encouraged to conduct research in any field of economics, with emphasis on labor, health, education and demographic economics. At LAI, it is possible to foster a research idea and see it through to completion in less time than is required even in the academic world. Further, you will be surrounded and supported by more labor economists than can be found at most major universities.
While there is no formal requirement regarding billable time, as a business, budgets are developed based on expected billable time across all professionals. Expected billable time for a senior economist at LAI is significantly less than what is common in the consulting industry, leaving more time for research than is commonly associated with most academic positions. The result is that a significant portion of your time can be allotted to individual research. Said differently, your billable time likely will be less than the non-research time required in a typical academic position. Moreover, at LAI, billable time involves applying the principles and methods of human capital theory, while most non-research time in academics does not.
Economists are encouraged to participate actively in relevant economics associations (AEA, regional economic associations, SOLE, etc.). Participation and attendance in regional and national conferences is encouraged and supported by LAI. Often, the concepts and ideas discussed at these professional meetings are directly applicable to case work. Similarly, it is quite common for new articles appearing in economics journals to contain ideas that you will apply immediately to your cases.
Regarding other aspects of lifestyle at LAI, a normal business day is typical, and it is almost never necessary to think about work on the weekend or holidays. Official time off is quite flexible, and late arrivals and early departures are normal on an as-needed basis; LAI is quite a sane place to work. The environment is friendly and relaxed with an atmosphere composed of labor economists and researchers. At LAI you are not treated as an employee, but rather as a valued member of an important team. Your colleagues and clients are all highly educated. Finally, salaries and bonuses at LAI are above competitive rates.
The company currently maintains offices in Ridgefield, Connecticut, New York City and Dallas, Texas. At the present time, the Dallas office has the best opportunities for new economists. In the future, additional locations are anticipated in response to the company’s growth.
As a final note, LAI also has an education mission. That mission is to dispel the myths about economics so often seen in the courtroom. The education process occurs in every deposition, testimony, seminar and Continuing Legal Education course our economists offer throughout the country. You would be surprised to know that the economics you were taught in graduate school are not the methods typically used by “forensic economists” inside the courtroom. For instance, if you wanted to estimate an individual’s future earnings, you likely would use a standard Mincer equation. However, in the courtroom, the “forensic economists” we face almost universally multiply earnings by a set percent in each and every year. As a Ph.D. with a focus in labor economics, your training and education put you far beyond most other “economists” you will encounter in the courtroom.
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