Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
An ethics opinion strongly suggests that inherent in the definition of "practice of law" in North Carolina is the exercise of at least a modicum of independent legal judgment.
David Lola, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, appeals from the September 16, 2014 opinion and order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissing his putative collective action seeking damages from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Tower Legal Staffing, Inc. for violations of the overtime provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. ("FLSA"), arising out of Lola's work as a contract attorney in North Carolina.
Was Lola engaged in the practice of law for purposes of the FLSA overtime exemption for attorneys, 29 C.F.R. § 541.304(a)(1)?
The court held that Lola sufficiently asserted an FLSA overtime wage claim because the allegations of the complaint asserted that, under North Carolina law, N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 84-2.1 and 84-4, he was not engaged in the practice of law for purposes of the FLSA overtime exemption for attorneys, 29 C.F.R. § 541.304(a)(1). The complaint sufficiently alleged that Lola’s document review work was devoid of legal judgment because Lola asserted that he used criteria developed by others to simply sort documents into different categories, which the complaint asserted was a task that could otherwise be performed entirely by a machine.