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Feds Could Change OT Pay Rules for Attorneys, by Gabe Friedman, Big Law Business, Bloomberg BNA (with hat tip to William P. Statsky!)



Dozens of contract attorneys voiced concerns about the health of their profession in letters and comments sent to the U.S. Department of Labor during the past two months as the federal agency weighs a change to overtime pay rules.

The DOL is considering its first revisions since 2004 to the Fair Labor Standards Act section 13(a)(1), which, as currently written, creates an overtime exemption for licensed attorneys, as well as other professionals. A comment period closed on Friday. Specifically, the DOL is contemplating whether to change which primary job duties trigger an exemption and whether to increase the standard salary threshold that triggers an exemption, currently set at $455 per week. It is also considering whether to create a mechanism to automatically increase this amount over time.

Taken together, the letters paint a picture of the contract attorneys, who review documents as part of the discovery phase of litigation, as a struggling group whose wages have fallen in recent years, particularly after the recession as the market for legal services has slumped. . . .