At the Centre of It: Tyler Freiberger
What’s the biggest asset to Centre Law & Consulting? Easy answer: the people; in particular, our expert attorneys. As a firm, we have a wide range of practice areas and unique individuals who have become industry leaders in return. As we continue to grow and evolve it’s important that continue to highlight those who make this firm one of a kind. In this blog series “At the Centre of It” we’ll introduce you to our attorneys to better get to know them as professionals and behind the curtain as individuals! This week you’ll meet Tyler Freiberger. He is a Senior Associate Attorney at the firm that practices Employment Law, Buy America Act (BAA) and Trade Agreements Act (TAA) among many things.
What are your areas of expertise / practice areas?
Advising contractors and other employers on labor/employment laws and manufacturing regulations such as the TAA/BAA/AIS. I also frequently litigate these areas of laws before juries, administrative law judges, and appellate courts.
What areas of your practice have you seen the most change in the last year or so?
I have noticed two sharp changes in my recent practice:
1. The NLRB has been increasingly aggressive litigating labor violations against employers, even those without unions. These alleged violations include even casual discouragement of discussing working conditions such as the employees’ pay, and outdated handbook policies.
2. Agencies are increasingly looking for strict compliance with Buy America and related regulations. This comes at a time when these regulations are becoming increasingly difficult to meet given the standards are rising. Many federal contractors are finding themselves in the difficult space of choosing to comply with these mandatory regulations or be underbid by a more risk tolerant competitor that likely is “rolling the dice” with non-compliance.
How does your practice area align with your purpose? Both as an attorney and an individual?
There are solutions to be found to almost any problem if you understand both the rules involved and, most importantly, the reasoning behind the rules (even if you ultimately disagree with it). I often see a business or non-profit meeting an important need to a community but being frustrated with what appears to be red tape or other seemingly confusing rules. It can be fulfilling to provide solutions that respects the goals of say, legitimate employee rights, while also showing a client that these rights do not have to be in conflict with their goals if you use the right solution.
What is the best part about what you do?
As much as I hope to always provide the perfect solution to a client’s need, we still live in a litigious society. Just because someone is right, does not mean they will not face litigation. When this does happen, successfully advocating for a client before a jury or judge to is perhaps the hardest part of what I do, but also the most rewarding.
What areas of the law interest you the most?
Before law, I studied philosophy. So, when I’m dealing employment and labor litigation, I’m always interested in the unique balance the law and societal norms place on protected identities/behavior and the rule of “employment at will.” While the law has listed protected classes or beliefs that cannot be targeted, even accidentally, still those rules tend to blur into more standard norms of a workplace, like basic civility. This is especially true once a jury gets to make the final call and is often willing to decide a case based on their morals rather than the strict letter of the law. This quickly gets interesting with employment litigation when you are looking at multiple professional relationships, often perceived very differently by those involved and, importantly, a third party now deciding a case. New decisions and opinions that wade into the question of just how much of private employment we, collectively, want to control with societal norms are always a guilty pleasure.
What is it about Centre that allows you to thrive as an attorney? How is Centre different from other firms?
The professional but sincerely friendly relationship between the attorneys working here and general enthusiasm for the work. It’s just easier and more productive to collaborate on difficult legal issues to a coworker when you know they will be excited by the challenge and happy to help. When you can “nerd out” on a legal issue with someone you also get along with, the result is a more nuanced and persuasive product.
Who are you outside of work? Hobbies, interests, etc. How do you let your hair down!
Most nights I’m tinkering with a PC I built and playing various cooperative games with my friends across the country or the latest Nintendo game with my wife. When I get the chance to return to my hometown, I love losing to my family in sporting clay shooting. To try and balance out my love of all things whiskey I’ll also head to the gym while listening to a history lecture. Currently on a series about Marquis de Lafayette and loving it.
Outside of work, what are the causes that you care about the most and how do you actively participate in those causes?
I was lucky enough to have amazing support dealing with a speech disability as a child. Without it I could not have a job being an oral advocate now. With that in mind I frequently volunteer with various non-profits aimed at supporting the disabled, advocate for disability protection laws, and volunteer to coach students in oral competitions and to improve their public speaking. I also enjoy welcoming, supporting, and moving in refugees coming to the DC/ Northern Virginia area.
What is one thing about you that may surprise people who only know you as an attorney?
As a former mascot for my high school and university I hope it shows you can get quality legal work without dealing with someone taking themselves too seriously.
What do you hope to achieve this year and beyond both at work and outside of work?
I’m currently litigating two large employment cases I’m shamelessly personally invested in. I’m hoping to give both clients the win they deserve after hard fought litigation. Outside of work, I’m hoping to join an advisory committee for a non-profit.
If there was a quote, that you could repeat to yourself each day to help you show up as your best self and the best attorney for your clients, what would that quote be?
Both at work and sitting in DC traffic, I try to remember: “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Attributed to Philo of Alexandria.