Catherine E. Wagner, a 3L, won a grievance arbitration case in which she represented the Labor and Employment Unit of the Philadelphia City Solicitor’s Office.
Wagner successfully defended the city in a grievance the firefighters’ union filed on behalf of a firefighter who had been suspended without pay.
The arbitrator sustained the city’s actions in the suspension in a ruling issued on Sept. 17. During the hearing in August, Wagner made opening and closing arguments and examined and cross examined witnesses.
“This has been a fantastic experience,” Wagner said of the internship at the solicitor’s office that was arranged with help from Professor Reena Parambath.
Through her internship, Wagner also handled two civil service hearings, both of which were dismissed with prejudice and served as second chair in a mediation with the fire department.
“Cate was fantastic,” said Tracy Tripp, a Class of 2010 alumna who worked in the solicitor’s office and supervised Wagner’s work in the hearing. “Originally, we had planned for her to do the opening and direct examinations, with me cross-examining the grievant and giving closing argument. But she was so well prepared that our unit chief decided to let her do the whole thing. She kicked complete ass and won the arbitration.”
The experience has only added to Wagner’s enthusiasm about working in the field of labor law.
“I really love fostering relationships between people, and labor law, with its opportunities for negotiation and alternative dispute resolution is so well suited to helping people work out issues constructively,” said Wagner, who is president of the law school's Student Bar Association.