Claiming that the document review work he was doing wasn't real lawyer's work a contract lawyer has sued a New York law firm and a staffing agency for unpaid overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.  William Henig, a lawyer, was temporarily staffed to Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, a New York law firm, and assigned to review documents for some pending case.  He worked 55-60 hours per week but was not paid time and a half for the hours each work week over 40.  Henig claims that he is not exempt from overtime pay requirements, because the work was so routine that it did not rise to the level of real lawyer's work.

Source: American Lawyer

This is an unusual case. Lawyers should almost always be exempt from overtime pay requirements provided they are paid on a salary basis because the nature of their work ordinarily would cause them to fall within the professional exemption. But again the real test is not the employee's job title, degree or education but what duties they actually perform. If Helbig's work really doesn't require him to use his legal training, he might be entitled to overtime. But he'll fight an uphill battle: courts will be extremely reluctant to consider his claim and, if he is successful, he might well open a Pandora's box of claims by other lawyers.

Lexington overtime lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and employees seeking the wages and overtime they've earned but not been paid; contact him at 859-254-7076. 

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