Local Spotlight

Restaurant Lawyer David Jordan on Tip Pools and Illegal Immigration

David Jordan is a partner in the Houston office of Littler Mendelson, an international law firm specializing in labor and employment law. Before he was a lawyer, Jordan worked in the restaurant industry for several years: flipping burgers at Burger King when he was in high school; working in TCBY's corporate offices after college; managing and owning an El Chico franchise; and managing several Applebee's restaurants. As a lawyer, he remains heavily involved with the restaurant industry; between a third and two-thirds of his work is restaurant-related, and he is a frequent commentator on restaurant-related labor issues.

EOW: I've often heard of unhappy lawyers opening a restaurant or wine bar, but you're the first person I've met who owned a restaurant and then decided to become a lawyer. How did that happen?

DJ: After ten years I had seen it all: from Tex-Mex to yogurt franchises to fast-casual concepts and family restaurants. But the hardest thing at all of these places was managing employees -some of these restaurants had more than a hundred employees. There would always be these fascinating legal issues, but it was difficult for me, as a manager, to appreciate them. So I thought I'd give law school a try. I took the LSAT, applied to one law school [the University of Oklahoma], and when I got accepted that was that. Now I help restaurants navigate the things I could never figure out as a manager, and the risks are much bigger now.

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Matthew Dresden
Contact: Matthew Dresden