Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

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BruceWayne
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Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby BruceWayne » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:58 am

Are you paid time and a half for the number of hours worked past 40 when you're an hourly contract attorney? Isn't that required under the FLSA? If so, is that why firms often hire "staff attorneys" to do doc review and give them reduced salaries so that they don't have to pay them overtime but they still get to exclusively assign these attorneys doc review etc. type assignments?

drs36
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Re: Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby drs36 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:03 am

Lots of litigation going on now over whether contract attorneys are exempt under the FLSA.

kaiser
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Re: Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby kaiser » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:14 am

This was a big issue, with a number of cases filed. One involved a contract attorney alleging that he was entitled to overtime, saying that he didn't fall into the professional exemption to the FLSA overtime requirements because, as he claimed, doc review was not genuinely practicing law. Skadden was on the other side of the case, arguing that doc review is still practicing law, and I believe Skadden's argument won (i.e. even though a monkey with half a brain could do it, and even though its the most rote and mundane task, it is still within the sphere of "practicing law"). So contract attorneys are generally exempt from OT requirements.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby BruceWayne » Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:42 am

Thanks. I'm new to this but wouldn't they fail the "salary basis" test though? Or is working a "professional"/white collar job alone sufficient to receive the exemption?

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baal hadad
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Re: Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby baal hadad » Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:54 am

Benefits : flexible hrs

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BruceWayne
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Re: Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby BruceWayne » Fri Mar 13, 2015 9:42 am

I'm still not understanding how they receive the exemption if they are paid on an hourly basis. I thought the exemption had two requirements: 1) The person work as a bona fide "professional" which I admit working as an attorney--even if you are doing "mundane" work--constitutes and 2) that the person is paid on a "salary basis". I do not see how someone paid at an hourly rate, who has their pay reduced when their hours work decrease, meets this second requirement.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:42 am

From the Department of Labor FLSA fact sheet:

Salary Basis Requirement
To qualify for exemption, employees generally must be paid at not less than $455 per week on a salary basis. These salary requirements do not apply to outside sales employees, teachers, and employees practicing law or medicine.


So presumably whether doc review is "professional" work is (was) the only issue.

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minnbills
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Re: Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby minnbills » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:46 am

I'm considering doing some contract work before my clerkship - do you know what a typical hourly rate is?

smallfirmassociate
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Re: Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby smallfirmassociate » Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:41 pm

minnbills wrote:I'm considering doing some contract work before my clerkship - do you know what a typical hourly rate is?


Ten drops of blood and an ownership interest in the twinkly part of your soul.

Not sure what they give you in return, $12 - $18 an hour maybe?

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BruceWayne
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Re: Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby BruceWayne » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:26 pm

I can't access it on my Westlaw right now (out of plan) but apparently Skadden lost a case before the second circuit on this. Apparently if the work is mundane/requires little legal analysis doc review attorneys ARE owed overtime pay. It will be interesting to see if other circuits follow this.

LawyerEsq
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Re: Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby LawyerEsq » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:36 pm

BruceWayne wrote:I can't access it on my Westlaw right now (out of plan) but apparently Skadden lost a case before the second circuit on this. Apparently if the work is mundane/requires little legal analysis doc review attorneys ARE owed overtime pay. It will be interesting to see if other circuits follow this.


The decision was just issued a few hours ago. You can see it here: http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/i ... /4/hilite/

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baal hadad
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Re: Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby baal hadad » Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:22 pm

BruceWayne wrote:I can't access it on my Westlaw right now (out of plan) but apparently Skadden lost a case before the second circuit on this. Apparently if the work is mundane/requires little legal analysis doc review attorneys ARE owed overtime pay. It will be interesting to see if other circuits follow this.

Well plaintiff stated a claim anyway

kraeton
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Re: Contract Attorney Pay and Benefits

Postby kraeton » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:09 am

Also, isn't the hourly pay difference gargantuan between the standard and foreign doc work? At least for LA, I recall a friend saying his wife was making $80-$90/hr, before she got her firm job, and this was for Mandarin Chinese. I think it's higher for Japanese or Korean.

If you don't mind the drudgery, I can imagine worst fates than this.




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