I attended an Employment law CLE program last week and requested case citations concerning a paralegal’s status as an exempt/non-exempt employee. The answer is that paralegals are considered non-exempt employees. Below is the response from the presenter.
Below, you will find a few cases regarding paralegals as non-exempt employees under the FLSA:
Black v. Settlepou, P.C., 732 F.3d 492 (5th Cir. Oct. 11, 2013)
Magnoni v. Smith & Laquercia, LLP, 661 F. Supp.2d 412 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 11, 2009)
Blackmore v. Vaughn & Bowden, P.A., 2012 WL 2064534 (S.D. Miss. June 7, 2012)
This is the language from the CFR :
“Paralegals. Paralegals and legal assistants generally do not qualify as exempt learned professionals because an advanced specialized academic degree is not a standard prerequisite for entry into the field. Although many paralegals possess general four-year advanced degrees, most specialized paralegal programs are two-year associate degree programs from a community college or equivalent institution. However, the learned professional exemption is available for paralegals who possess advanced specialized degrees in other professional fields and apply advanced knowledge in the field in the performance of their duties. For example, if a law firm hires an engineer as a paralegal to provide expert advice on product liability cases or to assist on patent matters, the engineer would qualify for the exemption.” 29 CFR Section 541.301(e)(7).