Alan Schorr bet on himself.
His decision in 1993 to embark on a new career as an attorney could be described as a gamble or even a leap of faith. In his eyes, however, it wasn’t really either. Thanks to his previous experience as a business owner for almost 20 years, his interest in the law and his genuine passion for helping people, he was confident the venture would turn into a successful one—and three decades later, there’s no question he was right.
The founder of Schorr & Associates—a Cherry Hill law firm dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of employment matters—recently celebrated his 30th anniversary in the field, and looking back on his career, he’s proud to have become a voice for those facing adversity in the workplace.
“I hoped that I’d be doing it this long. When I became a lawyer, it was certainly my goal to devote my life to representing people and protecting their civil rights,” Schorr says. “When I started practicing, it was around the time that Clarence Thomas was going through the hearings for sexual harassment, and the state of New Jersey had a landmark ruling regarding sexual harassment. I decided that was an area I wanted to be involved in to protect the civil rights of women and other people who are discriminated against, harassed and retaliated against.”
Schorr has emerged as a leading advocate for clients dealing with wrongful termination, sexual harassment, age/racial/gender discrimination, and other disputes. He has also expanded his offerings for high-level executives, physicians and minority shareholders in matters such as non-compete agreements and enhanced severance packages.
His firm handles a heavy load of unemployment cases as well, helping clients who are out of work navigate the complicated system. Adam Schorr, Alan’s son, focuses much of his practice in that area, having followed his father’s example of making a positive impact on people’s lives. Alan jokes that Adam flirted with the idea of becoming a fireman when he was 3 years old, but by the time he was 5, he knew the law was for him.
“I’m sure when I was 5, I just wanted to be like my dad,” Adam says. “But as I got older and understood the law, lawyers and other professions, there was never anything else that caught my attention. Certainly, by the time I was in middle school, I had a strong idea that this was the path I was going down, and that never wavered. I went straight from college to law school, and from law school to the firm.”
He also worked for his father throughout high school, learning how to conduct legal research and write briefs. But of all the lessons he’s received from his dad, one sticks out the most.
“I think the big thing is the passion and care that you have to bring to every case to do a good job,” he says. “Your heart has to be in it. We can talk about the technical aspects, but I think the real difference is being able to approach each client as our most important client.”
That mindset applies whether it’s a laid-off employee wondering where their next paycheck is going to come from, a respected doctor facing an oppressive non-compete clause, or a minority shareholder being unfairly treated by the majority owner. Alan Schorr has represented those types of high-level executives throughout his career but has particularly focused on their issues as the demand for his expertise has increased.
“We’ve gotten to a point now where so many employers are forcing executive employees, physicians and the like to sign non-compete agreements, which hold the employee prisoner,” he says. “If they leave, they have to be out of work for two years. I’ve been fighting non-competes my entire career, both at the legislature and judicially. I lecture on the subject at least two or three times a year at different bar associations. It’s been a passion of mine, and I have so many attorneys in the state of New Jersey who refer these cases to me because it’s really a unique skill and very few people have as much experience or knowledge about it.”
Another area the firm is often tasked with is overseeing severance agreements to ensure employees receive fair compensation. Schorr advises employees not to sign anything until an attorney has reviewed it.
No matter what type of issue a client is dealing with, both father and son strongly recommend not delaying in seeking representation, and that quitting a job because of unlawful treatment can damage their leverage in the case.
“The sooner you get us involved, the better,” Adam says. “That is still the most important piece of advice we can give: If you’re thinking about quitting your job, call a lawyer, because the time we can help the most is before you start making decisions like that.”
Not many employment attorneys, if any, are going to have the unique skills and background of Alan Schorr, who has now been a business owner for almost 50 years.
“I still love it, especially the type of work I’m doing now, which is less emphasis on litigation and more emphasis on improving lives,” he says. “It’s the best feeling in the world when you can help someone and their family make a better life for themselves. That’s why I do this.”
Schorr & Associates