What We Do
About the Office of the Solicitor
The Office of the Solicitor's (SOL) mission is to meet the legal service demands of the entire Department of Labor to help achieve the Department's mission, which is to promote the welfare of wage earners, job seekers, and retirees, to improve working conditions, to advance opportunities for profitable employment, and to provide and protect work-related benefits and rights. SOL's activities and priorities help promote and protect opportunity for all workers and employers, and help advance the policy priorities of each of our client agencies.
SOL works closely with our client agencies to develop and implement specific policies, programs, and strategies, providing DOL agencies legal advice and representation before a variety of courts and administrative tribunals. SOL helps advance DOL initiatives and priorities by working with client agencies to address legal issues and concerns, develop collaborative strategies, draft or review proposed legislation and regulations and other guidance involving Department programs, and advance or defend litigation crucial to the mission of Department agencies. DOL, unlike many federal agencies, has significant independent litigation authority under the statutes DOL enforces, and so affirmative litigation is a large part of the work of SOL staff.
SOL is led by the Solicitor of Labor, a Presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate, who serves as legal advisor to the Secretary and other Department officials and its legislative program. The Solicitor, with offices headquartered in Washington, D.C., is assisted by three Deputy Solicitors: the Deputy Solicitor of Labor, the Deputy Solicitor for National Operations and the Deputy Solicitor for Regional Enforcement. SOL's staff of around 700, including around 400 lawyers, is organized into nine national divisions, and seven regional offices with seven sub-regional offices. Staff are divided nearly equally between the national divisions and regional offices.
SOL helps our clients make America a magnet for jobs, equip workers with the skills they need to succeed in those jobs, protect them from injuries or illnesses caused by their work and assure workers that they receive promised benefits and statutorily-mandated compensation for their efforts. SOL shares the outcome goals of each of our client agencies, and we support each of the Department's Five Strategic Goals: to prepare workers for better jobs; to improve workplace safety and health; to promote fair and high-quality work environments; to secure retirement, health, and other employee benefits, and for those not working, provide income security; and to produce timely and accurate data on the economic conditions of workers and their families.
The legal resources that SOL devotes to each client are matched, as much as possible, to their respective goals. SOL also advises the Secretary and Departmental leadership on a full range of legal issues.
SOL's services fall into four primary categories: 1) pre-referral legal, strategic, and investigative assistance, 2) litigation, 3) opinion and advice, and 4) assistance in the development of regulations. More concretely, we endeavor to help the Department accomplish all of our shared outcome goals by:
- Assisting worker protection agencies in identifying and developing evidence necessary for appropriate enforcement actions;
- Providing legal opinions and advice that assist Department officials in accomplishing program objectives and responding to pending issues while complying with all applicable legal requirements.
- Undertaking litigation to carry out priority enforcement initiatives, and to defend the Secretary and the program agencies of the Department; and
- Assisting in the development, drafting, and legal review of legislation, regulations, guidance documents explaining DOL programs, Executive Orders, and other matters affecting Departmental programs.
SOL has adopted key strategies that will help us use our resources in the most strategic manner possible. In all of our work, SOL strives to litigate effectively and provide sound legal advice so that the Department achieves its policy objectives and complies with all legal requirements.