Getting to Know Ireneo A. Reus III
By Brian J. Heaton
Every issue, the California Lawyers Association (CLA) is spotlighting one of its members. Please consider nominating someone to feature in future issues by emailing the author of this profile article at firstname.lastname@example.org. This issue’s profile is on Ireneo A. Reus III, who serves on the Executive Committee of CLA’s Labor and Employment Law Section. His full bio follows the interview.
My practice focuses on representing businesses in a broad range of employment law matters including claims for wrongful termination, employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour claims. I also counsel employers on various issues, including employment policies and procedures, managing leaves of absences, workplace privacy, and wage and hour compliance. The Reus Law Firm was founded in 2005 in Long Beach, California. I chose Long Beach because it was the city where my family first immigrated to the United States in the 1980s from the Philippines when I was eight years old. From downtown Long Beach, I can see the panoramic views of Pacific Ocean, but I can also see the old neighborhood of my family’s humble beginnings in America. So, this keeps me grounded and gives me a broader perspective and appreciation of my immigrant roots and experiences as I represent my clients.
3. Tell us a little about your practice, the official name of it, when it was formed, where your office is located and what are some of the guiding principles you use when working with clients.
I’ve always enjoyed how labor and employment law has been one of the most dynamic areas of law, especially for California practitioners. Plus, there is a great deal of variety. I represent employers, so I get to learn about and understand different clients’ operations and industries, which can range from health care to real estate to media and other industries. With the evolution of the gig economy, workplace privacy issues, and most recently the rise of COVID-19 employment-related issues, this area of law will continue to rapidly evolve and keep practitioners (and our clients) on our toes.
2. Your specialty is labor and employment law. Where does your passion for this area of the law stem from?
I’m honored to be nominated and recognized for my work and contributions. I’ve been blessed and fortunate to have learned from and worked with mentors in the legal profession ever since I was a law student at UCLA Law School. For the past 20 years, I’ve developed leadership skills, and fostered professional relationships and long-lasting connections to now be in a position to give back and make a positive impact on the legal community. I suppose this has been natural aspect of my career progression. Now, I “pay it forward” by mentoring, sponsoring, and elevating fellow attorneys who show the same drive and initiative to move the legal profession forward.
1. You were nominated by a colleague due to being a “leader, connector, and advocate for fellow attorneys.” What is your reaction to seeing just how impactful you have been to your fellow attorneys?
4. What is the most rewarding aspect of your career, and conversely, the biggest challenge?
In addition to helping my clients, I’ve found it most rewarding to have been able to play a small part in the professional development, mentoring, and practical training of over a dozen former Law Clerks. They clerked at my firm when they were law students and many of them gained legal work experience for the first time. Many come from diverse backgrounds, and they are now practicing attorneys in California, New York, Washington, D.C. as well as other countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. And many of them now work at large national and international law firms such as Baker McKenzie, DLA Piper, Sheppard Mullin, White & Case, and Polsinelli. Some of my former Law Clerks also now work in-house at Netflix, Wells Fargo, and other companies. I’m proud of how I’ve been able to help diversity the legal profession. I also keep in contact with many of my former Law Clerks, and I’ve been able to attend their weddings and meet their family after they graduated from law school. So, this has been rewarding on a professional and personal level Conversely, one of the biggest challenges of managing a solo/small firm is that you’re often underestimated. I’m accustomed to this. I use this as a motivator and flip it to my advantage to become more agile, efficient and resourceful, which clients appreciate.
5. How has CLA helped your career and practice?
My CLA membership and participation have helped my career and practice in several ways. First, as a member of the Executive Committee (ExCom) of the Labor and Employment Law Section of CLA, I’ve been able to develop connections and friendships with fellow ExCom members, who are some of the leading labor and employment practitioners in California. I’ve been a voting member of the ExCom since 2018. Our ExCom’s composition is evenly balanced among members who represent plaintiffs/employees/unions, defense/employer/management, and members who serve as neutrals or investigators. As my ExCom colleague, Stephanie Joseph said, “the Labor and Employment Law Section is a one-stop shop where California’s diverse group of labor and employment lawyers can come together, collaborate, network, and have access to high quality, affordable, and relevant MCLE and educational opportunities.” Because of our collegial relationship as ExCom members, I’ve been able to provide more value to my clients by informally gaining practical insights about case strategies on complicated and cutting-edge issues, and being able to vet, and gain more knowledge, about judges and opposing counsel. My ExCom colleagues have also helped me gain insights and recommend the best mediators and arbitrators for my clients. And of course, for the webinars and annual flagship conferences we organize, our ExCom recruits and works with other leading practitioners from each side of the bar, and experienced judges, to speak and share their knowledge for our of webinar and conference attendees Second, through CLA, I have a platform to speak up, initiate, and vote on national issues of concern related to the legal profession as a member of CLA’s inaugural Delegation to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) House of Delegates, which is the policy-making body of the ABA. In 2021, I worked with fellow CLA members in drafting a resolution that sought to create safer campus communities by clarifying and affirming the broad meaning of Title IX, and clarifying who is protected under Title IX. Our CLA Resolution was passed overwhelmingly by the ABA House of Delegates during the ABA 2021 Annual Meeting. Being a member of CLA’s ABA Delegation is a valuable opportunity to connect and collaborate with fellow CLA members who may belong to other CLA Sections, and other attorneys and leaders in and outside of California.
6. Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow attorneys reading this interview?
If you’re not already a member of CLA, I encourage you to join or renew your CLA membership. If you’re already a CLA member, but you’re not actively involved in a CLA Section or Committee, I encourage you to get more involved! CLA has something for every attorney seeking to elevate their career and their practice. For example, some CLA Sections, such as the Labor and Employment Law Section, have a mentoring program. Whether you newly admitted to practice in California, or are an experienced attorney who is transitioning or adding labor and employment law into your practice, you can benefit by being a mentee. Similarly, if you are an experienced labor and employment practitioner, you can sign up to be a mentor. You can also share your expertise by writing an article or speaking at one of CLA’s webinars or conferences. If you have any questions, you’re welcome to contact me or connect with me on LinkedIn.
Ireneo A. Reus III is an AV-rated business attorney in Long Beach, California. Before establishing his own law firm, Mr. Reus worked for a civil litigation firm, a public finance law firm, and the General Counsel's Office of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He earned his J.D. from UCLA School of Law, where he was a Member of the UCLA Moot Court Honors Program, and Senior Articles Editor of the UCLA Journal of Law & Technology. In 2018, Mr. Reus became the first Filipino American to serve as the President of the UCLA School of Law Alumni Association since the law school was founded in 1949. Prior to joining the Executive Committee of the CLA’s Labor & Employment Section of the California Lawyers Association (CLA), Mr. Reus served in leadership positions in the State Bar of California, including as the first Filipino American in the State Bar’s history to serve as Chair of the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) in 2012. He also served on the State Bar’s Council on Access & Fairness (COAF) and Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform (TFARR). In 2016, the Los Angeles Law Library featured Mr. Reus in an exhibit and documentary film titled “Opening the Door: Personal Stories of Groundbreaking Los Angeles Lawyers and Judges.” Mr. Reus has presented MCLE programs at ABA conferences in Tokyo, Japan and Washington, D.C., and at several National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Conventions throughout the United States on topics such as ethics, employment law, civil litigation, social media, and business development. He has also served as a contributing author in the ABA’s best-selling book, “Careers in International Law” (5th Edition), and the “State Bar of California’s Guide to Growing and Managing a Law Office” (2012). Mr. Reus is also a member of CLA’s inaugural delegation to the ABA House of Delegates, CLA’s inaugural Strategic and Long-Range Planning Committee and has been elected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.