Cornell University

Esta Bigler : Biography

Esta R. Bigler, Esq., directs Cornell University ILR's Labor and Employment Law Program. This program brings together social scientists and attorneys to inform each other's work with the goal of addressing contemporary labor and employment law and workplace issues to influence litigation and public policy decisions by utilizing forums, conferences, and workshops. She develops programs by identifying critical and evolving labor and employment law issues and pending legislation and decisional law.

Ms. Bigler, a graduate of Cornell ILR School, has a law degree from Georgetown University. She began her law career as a field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board, litigating unfair labor practices cases and handling representation matters. She then moved to private practice, working as an associate at Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C., where she represented unions in all phases of labor law and represented plaintiffs in Title VII litigation. From private practice, Ms. Bigler entered public service, where she was the deputy director/general counsel of New York City's Bureau of Labor Services, which enforced the equal employment opportunity requirements imposed on city contractors, forging new ground as one of the authors of the regulations enforcing Executive Order No. 50.

Ms. Bigler joined the faculty of Cornell University as Visiting Associate Professor of Labor Relations in 1987 and, in 1988, was appointed Metropolitan District Director of the school's New York City Extension Program, leading and overseeing a program of training, education, and research services with an annual enrollment of 15,000 adults, including lawyers, arbitrators, union management, and government officials, a position she held until establishing the Labor and Employment Law Program. She continues to teach labor and employment law classes in the ILR School for undergraduate resident students on the School’s Ithaca campus and adult students in NYC.