For the past 41 years, public workers with no interest in joining their profession’s labor union had been required to pay union dues, despite their non-involvement.

However, that precedent has been altered after the Supreme Court of the United States recently ruled that charging non-union members fees and union dues violates a person’s first amendment rights.

This case, known as JANUS v. AFSCME, originated out of Springfield, IL after social worker Mark Janus declined to join the union for political reasons. Unions often advocate public policies and get involved in politics, many of which Janus himself did not support. As a result, he refused to become a union member, but was still unfairly being required to pay the union.

Due to the Supreme Court’s decision, public workers now have the ability to make their own decisions about whether or not they would like to pay fees to a union they are not a part of.

Involved in the case in the defense of Janus were two of Mauck & Baker’s very own alumni: Jeffrey Schwab and Amanda Freeman. We spoke to both of them to discuss how their time at Mauck & Baker equipped them in their profession as lawyers.

Jeffrey Schwab currently works in Chicago as a senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, which formed one half of the team that represented Janus. Specifically, Schwab worked on revising and editing briefs and attended the oral argument at the Supreme Court.

Mauck & Baker was Schwab’s first job out of law school, and he credits his experience as being an excellent foundation.

“A lot of my legal experience was based on my time at Mauck & Baker,” he said. “One of the first big cases I litigated at Mauck & Baker almost immediately after starting there was a free speech case…It was really important in learning how to litigate because about half of our cases now are also free speech cases.”

Schwab remembers how passionate the attorneys at Mauck & Baker were (and still are).

“The fact that Mauck & Baker is willing to stand up for important first amendment rights is something I loved about working there and a lot of what I do now,” he mentioned.

When asked how his faith plays a role in his work as a lawyer, he stressed how essential it is, especially fighting for civil rights.

“[My faith] influences why I believe these rights exist. They are given by God and that’s why I’m so passionate about defending them. The government should not violate those rights. People deserve to have those freedoms because freedom is something God gives us,” Schwab said.

Amanda Freeman currently works as a staff attorney at the National Right to Work Legal Foundation, which makes up the other half of the team that represented Janus. She assisted with moot courts, document preparation, and also attended to Supreme Court’s oral argument.

Freeman worked at Mauck & Baker as a legal assistant and paralegal to the partners while she was an undergraduate student. When asked about why she became a lawyer, Freeman stated she was strongly encouraged by John Mauck and Rich Baker.

Her early experience at Mauck & Baker was also crucial training for her current work as an attorney.

“[My time at Mauck & Baker] helped tremendously. It gave me an understanding of the basics of a law practice and insights as an assistant,” said Freeman. “Researching cases gave me an inquisitive mindset, and I’ve been able to implement the partners’ verbiage into my own practice.”

Her faith plays an integral role as well.

“My faith impacts my approach to my clients and how I treat people. They’re not just a case to me, they are actual individuals,” Freeman said.

At Mauck & Baker, we are truly excited that believers like Jeffrey and Amanda are practicing law and becoming involved in cases that truly matter in regard to our constitutional rights.

Posted on Fri, July 13, 2018 by Brittany Booth