For anybody who is ever inclined to take David M. Nieporent’s opinions on any legal issue seriously, consider this comment, regarding whether it’s legal to hire judicial clerks for full-time jobs and pay them a salary of zero:
The whole “volunteer” thing is a red herring; this isn’t illegal because the minimurn wage does not apply to lawyers.
This is in response to a post which notes that “the general purpose of the FLSA is to prohibit employers from not paying employees, and to enforce minimum wage standards (there are different wage standards for hourly and professional workers but you still have to pay people if they’re working for you).”
To qualify for the learned professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment;
The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and
The advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.