United States Solicitor of Labor

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United States Solicitor of Labor
Kate S. O'Scannlain

since December 21, 2017
United States Department of Labor
SeatFrances Perkins Building, Washington, D.C.
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level IV

The United States Solicitor of Labor is the chief legal officer of the United States Department of Labor and the third-ranking officer of the department, behind the Secretary of Labor and Deputy Secretary of Labor.[1][2] The Office of the Solicitor has the second largest litigation department in the U.S. federal government, with about 500 lawyers in both national and regional offices.[1][3] The Solicitor of Labor has independent authority to initiate lawsuits to enforce 180 federal workplace statutes.[1][4] The position is a Presidental appointee requiring Senate confirmation, and is paid on Level IV of the Executive Schedule.[5]

The Office of the Solicitor was established by the Organic Act of 1913, which separated the Department of Labor from the Department of Commerce and Labor, although a Solicitor position for the combined department had existed since 1903. The Solicitor of Labor was originally located in the Department of Justice until it was transferred to the Department of Labor in 1933. In 1940, all Department attorneys and legal personnel were transferred to the supervision of the Solicitor of Labor.[1][6] In the 1980s, the office attracted attention for delays in cases enforcing the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974,[7] and for not seeking the maximum compensation for back wages due under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.[8] In 2019, a memo directing lawyers to consult with agency heads before filing lawsuits against employers was criticized as ceding some of its authority to political appointees.[3]


The following people have held the office of Solicitor of Labor:[9]


  1. ^ a b c d "Office of the Solicitor (SOL) History". U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  2. ^ Borins, Sandford F. (2009-12-01). Innovations in Government: Research, Recognition, and Replication. Brookings Institution Press. p. 105. ISBN 9780815710301.
  3. ^ a b Penn, Ben (2019-06-07). "Labor Department's Top Lawyer Wants Political Review of Lawsuits". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  4. ^ Penn, Ben (2017-11-08). "Meet the Most Powerful Labor Lawyer You've Never Heard Of". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  5. ^ "United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions (Plum Book)". U.S. Senate. 2016-12-01. p. 102. Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  6. ^ "Key Dates in SOL History". U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  7. ^ "Assessment of How the Department of Labor's Solicitor's Office Handles Pension and Welfare Benefit Cases". U.S. Government Accountability Office. 1984-12-08.
  8. ^ "The Department of Labor's Enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act" (HRD-85–77). U.S. Government Accountability Office. 1985-09-30.
  9. ^ "Past Solicitors of Labor". U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved 2019-08-08.