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    Doc review is unequivocal “practice of law” US judge says in dumping contract attorney’s overtime suit

    Ben Hur

     9 October 2014 - In a case that helps clarify what discovery-related activities constitute the practice of law, a federal judge in Manhattan has told a group of contract attorneys performing document review for a major law firm they are not entitled to overtime pay because they were engaged in legal work.

    Summoning professional and ethical codes of North Carolina, where the attorneys worked, Judge Richard Sullivan determined that document review rises to the level of legal practice – irrespective of its complexity or the legal credentials of those performing it. The application of legal judgment, Judge Sullivan said, is not a prerequisite for an activity to be deemed “practice … Read the rest

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Doc review is unequivocal “practice of law” US judge says in dumping contract attorney’s overtime suit

Ben Hur

 9 October 2014 - In a case that helps clarify what discovery-related activities constitute the practice of law, a federal judge in Manhattan has told a group of contract attorneys performing document review for a major law firm they are not entitled to overtime pay because they were engaged in legal work.

Summoning professional and ethical codes of North Carolina, where the attorneys worked, Judge Richard Sullivan determined that document review rises to the level of legal practice – irrespective of its complexity or the legal credentials of those performing it. The application of legal judgment, Judge Sullivan said, is not a prerequisite for an activity to be deemed “practice … Read the rest

Every law firm’s fear: translator decides to keep documents she translated and become whistle blower

 

Whistle blower

 

25 September 2014 - A translator who provided internal Toyota documents to news reporters has objected to the carmaker’s requests for sanctions against her for alleged failure to obey a protective order in litigation over sudden acceleration.

Betsy Benjaminson … who lives in Israel and is a self-described whistleblower … was working as a translator for Linguistic Services Inc. which had been retained by Debevoise & Plimpton which represented Toyota while the government investigated the company for criminal liability.

Benjaminson’s position is that Toyota’s internal documents revealed that its public statements about sudden unintended acceleration did not match its statements to investigators, Congress, and the public about the … Read the rest

Note to NYC contract attorneys: the New York City Earned Sick Time Act has taken effect

 

NYC paid sick leave law

 

1 August 2014 - On June 30, 2014 employees in New York City became entitled to begin using accrued sick leave pursuant to the New York City Earned Sick Time Act (the “Act”). The Act went into effect on April 1, 2014 and requires private sector employers with five or more employees to provide nearly all employees with a minimum amount of paid sick leave. Smaller employers are required to provide job protected, but unpaid, sick leave. Employees may begin using accrued sick leave on July 30, 2014 or 120 days after the start of employment, whichever is later.

From the Cooley law firm summary memo:

Who is … Read the rest

Survey: Law Firms Are at an E-Discovery “Watershed”

 

Ari Kaplan photo

 

Ari Kaplan Advisors logo

http://www.arikaplanadvisors.com

 

26 July 2014 – Earlier this week (click here) we noted a piece in The Washington Post about Winston & Strawn:

“Winston wants to compete head to head with e-discovery vendors such as FTI and Kroll. This year, the firm started pushing a new service in which Winston’s e-discovery team will handle e-discovery for cases even if other law firms — often their competitors in the legal market — are handling the actual litigation of the case”.

So far, it has been paying off but as Winston attorney John Rosenthal … who leads the practice … noted “from a dollar standpoint, it’s not that Read the rest

Will the contract lawyer wage-and-hour suits open up law firms to overtime claims from a wider pool?

 

Mind numbing

(from law360.com)

 

23 July 2014 - Contract lawyers pursuing wage-and-hour suits claiming the temporary document review work they did for white-shoe firms was to “routine” to qualify as overtime-exempt face an uphill battle, but experts say their bellwether cases could open up law firms to overtime claims from a wider pool of attorneys, such as associates.

A ruling in favor of attorneys who sued Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, as well as legal staffing companies, for denying them overtime pay would give low-level attorneys precedent to fuel analogous arguments that their duties were too menial to fall … Read the rest

Winston & Strawn goes head-to-head with e-discovery vendors

 

 

Winston & Strawn logo

 

20 July 2014 – An interesting piece in The Washington Post about Winston & Strawn:

“Winston wants to compete head to head with e-discovery vendors such as FTI and Kroll. This year, the firm started pushing a new service in which Winston’s e-discovery team will handle e-discovery for cases even if other law firms — often their competitors in the legal market — are handling the actual litigation of the case”.

The piece states that one of the fastest-growing departments at Winston & Strawn is also one of the most obscure, at least to many outside of the legal world:

“The law firm has taken the unusual Read the rest

Heads up to contract attorneys: the San Francisco Health insurance program

San Fran health plan

 

 

16 July 2014 - We have been bombarded with emails about the San Francisco Health insurance program ever since word got out that several document review staffing firms in San Francisco have been audited for not complying with the San Francisco law. A number of contract attorneys have been called by the San Francisco audit team and various letters have been issued. We were able to determine via our own sources that there is indeed an audit in progress. And given a few agencies have moved out of handling placements from San Francisco due to “costs” one suspects the departures are more related to having to comply with … Read the rest

The continuing saga of the Quinn Emanuel contract attorney case

 

Ben Hur (2)

25 June 2014 – We have discussed the Quinn Emanuel contract attorney case … and the rash of attorney FLSA lawsuits where the claim is “I was only doing clerical work” theory … in the past. The seemingly never-ending Quinn Emanuel case concerns whether the plaintiff (William Henig, a contract attorney) did/did not perform “attorney work.” In this regard, the plaintiff only worked there for six weeks, performing document review work in 2012. The firm claims that the documents prove Henig conducted himself as a lawyer.

Henig was seeking information relating to every applicant for the document review project, as well as the names of the interviewers of all … Read the rest

Machine vs Human translation – an update

Machine-vs-human-translation (1)

 

 

Gregory P. Bufithis, Esq.

Founder/Chairman     The Posse List

 

30 May 2014- Ah, technology. So hard to keep up. Just on the medical front alone the cost of manipulating life’s building blocks is falling at such a rapid clip … faster than Moore’s Law predictions for silicon … that we can now tailor drugs to match a person’s genome, and fuse technology with living matter.

And so it goes in the legal field.

Last year we ran a post about Google’s quest to end the language barrier and the possible effect on non-English e-discovery document reviews. We wrote about the long way companies had come toward making … Read the rest

The contract attorney overtime case against Skadden, Arps / Tower Legal has a new twist

Ben Hur (2)

 

 

12 February 2014 – A big hat tip to Posse List member Matthew Green who has been following the Skadden/Tower Legal overtime suit. Matthew popped us a note and said:

A very interesting twist in the overtime case filed against Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates and Tower Legal Solutions. The named lead plaintiff contract attorney applied to Tower Legal for a new gig, prompting the staffing firm’s lawyers to allege that his description of his duties on the project at issue is inconsistent with his claim that he did not have the responsibilities of a lawyer. But the judge appears impatient with efforts by Read the rest