Overtime for Attorneys Hired to Perform Document Review
Many lawyers struggle to find legal employment in a small, cramped job market. They may be forced to take a short-term document review position in order to survive. Document review typically consists of tasks such as scanning and categorizing documents using search terms and redacting text. Sometimes, these tasks are performed by non-lawyers rather than attorneys. Attorneys are not usually classified as nonexempt employees because of their learned profession. However, like nonexempt employees, they may nevertheless be able to receive overtime for a document review assignment. The wage violations attorneys at Phillips & Associates can assist New York City residents who have not received the compensation that they are due.Overtime for Attorneys Hired to Perform Document Review
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), covered nonexempt employees must be paid one and a half times their regular rate of pay after completing 40 hours of work in any given work week. Licensed attorneys are usually considered to have jobs involving professional skill and therefore are usually nonexempt workers under federal and state law. As a result, they are not paid overtime, although most work more than 40 hours in a week. However, attorneys who perform document review often have to work more than 40 hours a week, and they may not be doing work which requires exercising independent legal judgement.
The Second Circuit has held that contract attorneys who are hired for document review may be eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours per week and the work they perform is so basic that it cannot legitimately be considered the practice of law. However, the court did not provide other guidance on how to define the "practice of law," leaving this up to individual states to decide for themselves.
This means that some states may find that certain types of document review do not necessarily qualify as the practice of law. For example, if the document review involves categorizing certain documents based on a particular point of law, or providing services which could otherwise be performed by a machine, this may alter the overall employment analysis. It will be important in bringing a lawsuit related to this issue to have legal representation from an experienced employment attorney. Decisions made in individual cases may affect how the rule is interpreted in New York in other similar cases.Enlist an Overtime Attorney in New York City to Protect Your Rights
Many excellent attorneys have been unable to find work that appropriately utilizes their legal skills, and they may be forced to take document review jobs. Although attorneys are usually nonexempt workers, document review attorneys are not usually paid at a level commensurate with their educational qualifications and student loans. Consequently, every bit of money helps. If you are a contract attorney performing basic document review, you may be entitled to more compensation than you are receiving. While it may be tempting to represent yourself, an individual case can have a significant impact on this new area of law and may affect many other people in the same position. As a result, it is wise to retain a New York City lawyer who is highly experienced in overtime and other wage and hour issues. Call Phillips & Associates at (212) 248-7431 or contact us through our online form to set up a free consultation. We assist individuals throughout Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Westchester County, and Long Island.
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