Lawyer who reviewed 13,000 documents in two months isn't entitled to overtime pay, judge rules
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A lawyer doing document review work for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan isn’t entitled to overtime pay because he was using legal judgment, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams of Manhattan ruled on Dec. 30 in the case of William Henig, the New York Law Journal (sub. req.) reports. Federal and New York state law do not require overtime pay for licensed attorneys engaged in the practice of law.
Henig had claimed he did not exercise legal judgment while reviewing documents to determine relevance to a discovery request. He reviewed about 13,000 documents for about two months in 2012 while working as a temporary contract lawyer for Quinn Emanuel, according to Abrams’ opinion (PDF). He made $35 an hour.
During an orientation, Henig was told to tag documents that were potentially privileged, and to look for documents that were interesting or important to the case.
“Not all of [document review] is law at its grandest,” Abrams wrote, “but all of it is the practice of law. Mr. Henig was engaged in that practice.”