A federal appeals court said on July 23 the New York law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom may owe overtime pay to a contract lawyer for performing non-legal work, a decision that could make it more costly for firms to hire temporary lawyers.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said contract lawyers can be eligible under federal labor law for overtime after working 40 hours per week, if their work is so basic that it does not constitute the practice of law.
The 3-0 decision on July 23 is a victory for David Lola, whom a staffing agency hired to review documents for Skadden at $25 per hour, and who is pursuing a class action on behalf of other contract lawyers.The reasoning; "... he provided services that a machine could have provided,”. The winning appellant had argued;
...he wanted to be paid for work he did and not be punished for having earned a law license.On second thought, it might cut down on useless litigation.
“Societally, this just can’t be beneficial,” he said.