Monday, January 7, 2008

Hey everyone! It's a New Year! and Contractor Pay

Hi faithful readers. I am back for the new year. I am sorry to have let things go for the past month, but without your contributions to the blog (which can be sent to my e-mail address if you wish to post them as opposed to just commenting), it is only me that is providing the posts. Talk to me about some of your experiences. E-mail me if you want to post something.

In any case, I have had some busy holiday weeks. I had a New Years Resolution to provide more frequent posts for this site, but I have already broken the resolution. I will probably do so again. For today's post, I would like to talk salary. Here is what I know about certain current jobs in Philadelphia (except where otherwise noted these are through agencies):

Morgan Lewis: $28, time and a half for overtime.
McCarter English: $30, after 6 mths $33, after 12 mths $35. Time and a half for Overtime.
Dechert (at least it was): $27, after 6 mths $30, after 12 mths $32, after 18 mths $35. Time and a half for overtime, and after 6 mths time and a half +$2 for Overtime.
Stradley Ronon: $40, straight time for overtime. Only limited hours available.
Pepper Hamilton: $30. If you are not through an agency, then I believe they are paying $38 (independent/1099 employee).
Duane Morris: $32 or $30 depending on the agency. No overtime.

If any of these is wrong, then please correct me. If there are any modifications that need to be made, then let me know.

Obviously the pay rates vary widely. From someone who is making their living through contracting this isn't promising. It is just the luck of the draw and one's availability that determines whether you are making $27 or $40. In addition, the circumstances and conditions on each of these jobs can vary widely. Incidentally, speaking about pay rates remember, that 1099 employees have to account for self employment and their own benefits. And also think about where you fit as employees.

I believe that Document Review Attorneys would be considered non-exempt employees for the purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act because while in a normally exempt class (attorneys), the definition of exempt employees is not by title, rather conditions. I have never seen a document review that actually uses enough specialized knowledge to make the employees exempt. What does this mean for you? Several things, but one is that overtime should be paid at a rate of at least time and 1/2 and it should start when you achieve 40/hours per week. If you do not believe me, then check out these sites:

http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/fairpay/fs17a_overview.pdf

http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/whdfs23.pdf

http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/

If there are contradictory legal opinions out there on the issue, please point them out to me. If you know this area of law well, then get in touch. If you are in a job where you are not being paid for overtime, or not being paid the correct amount, then you should consider unionizing.

Unions can protect pay rates, vacation pay, working conditions, and many other things. Many have given unionization a little thought in the legal field, but not a lot of thought. With Document Review work it is something that should be tried, as it is ripe for unionization. By the way, as a did you know thing? Did you know that lawyers for the Federal government are unionized under the treasury employees union. Yes lawyers can unionize, and contractors should.

My topic next post will be unions. If anyone wants to contribute, keep checking back. I will also deal with the FLSA and other labor acts more in future posts. I also hope to deal with OSHA, and possibly other Fire Regs. Please keep reading, and get the word out to other contractors. We will need group action in the future to improve conditions, and that is up to all of you.

2 comments:

Jimmy Hoffa, Esq. said...

Lawyers Unionize, Vote to Join the Teamsters


http://www.law.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/View&c=LawArticle&cid=1048518259019&t=LawArticle

Carter McEnglish said...

McCarter is pretty accurate. the only slight modification is that Overtime doesn't start until 45 (which seemed a bit random)