How Is an Attorney Compensated on a Wage and Hour Case?
Interviewer: Yes, how do people pay for your services? I would imagine that most of them are in no position to pay. Are the cases all on a contingency basis?
Wage and Hour Cases are Usually Compensated on a Contingency Basis, So the Plaintiff Does Not Have to Pay Any Fees in Advance
Michael: Yes. Wage and hour cases are typically brought on a contingency basis. We don’t charge the plaintiffs when they come in a consultation fee. We don’t charge them the filing fee that we have to pay to the court. We cover all of the expenses, such as depositions and any expert fees if necessary, so the fee is typically all on a contingency basis and a plaintiff never has to pay out of pocket until the end of the case when he receives his check.
The Industry Standard for the Contingency Fee Is 33%
Interviewer: Is there a customary percentage that attorneys in this area of law will take?
Michael: Generally, I think the standard in the industry is probably about 33%.
An Explanation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and How It Applies to Overtime Pay
Actually, let me elaborate on one question I think you may have asked me before about a typical case. I was discussing the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 earlier. The Fair Labor Standards Act deals with payment of overtime wages and minimum wages, and that requires that any worker that works more than 40 hours in a work week is entitled to time and a half of whatever their pay rate is for the overtime hours that they work.
For example, if somebody worked 60 hours in a work week and they’re paid straight time for those 60 hours, that would be a violation, and that’s something that’s covered under the Act. Typically, if we file that case, we would calculate what they’re getting on an hourly basis for the first 40 hours, and then we multiply that times time and a half for the hours overtime that they worked, and that will give us an idea of what the value of that claim is. Then we add in the liquidated damages and attorney fees.