Wage and Hour Lawyers serving Rapid City, South Dakota 57701.

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Finding a Wage and Hour Lawyer for Your Overtime, Minimum Wage, or Unpaid Wage Case 
in Rapid City, South Dakota

Are you considering filing a wage claim or lawsuit against your employer in Rapid City, South Dakota? If your employer owes you unpaid wages or overtime, you’ll want an attorney who knows local employment law, understands the process for filing a wage claim in South Dakota, and has experience in the state and federal courts in South Dakota. 

Here are some good ways to find the right lawyer.

Legal Aid Serving Rapid City, South Dakota

If your income is low, you may be able to get legal help for your overtime or wage claim through your local legal aid organization.

Listing of free legal services in Rapid City, South Dakota from Legal Services Corporation.

(Current income guidelines to qualify for legal aid.)

Not every legal aid office handles employment cases. But if your local legal aid office does not, or if your income exceeds the legal aid limit, the office may be able to refer you to a local employment lawyer.  

 

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Directories of Rapid City, South Dakota Employment Attorneys

Here are a few selected websites that offer directories of employment attorneys that serve Rapid City, South Dakota. Not all attorneys list on all directories, so we offer a choice here to let users access the widest possible selection of Rapid City, South Dakota employment lawyers. 

Lawyer Referral Services in South Dakota

Check with the South Dakota Bar Association for information about lawyer referral services in Rapid City, South Dakota. A lawyer referral service matches potential clients with attorneys who specialize in that area of law. 

NELA’s “Find a Lawyer” Tool

Use the “Find a Lawyer” service at the website of the National Employment Lawyer’s Association to find a lawyer specializing in overtime and wage claims in South Dakota. Select “Wage and Hour” from the list to find NELA members near you. 

Justia.com's Rapid City Lawyer Directory

Started by original FindLaw founder and "free law" pioneer, Tim Stanley, Justia.com has localized listings & profiles of attorneys that have been listed on lawyer directories services, including Nolo's and Cornell University's LLI project.

Nolo Lawyer Directory of Rapid City Area Employment Attorneys

Check Nolo’s lawyer directory (available through lawfirms.com) for names of employment lawyers in your zip code in South Dakota. 

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Ten Ways an Employment Lawyer Can Help You

You don’t have to hire a lawyer to help you negotiate with your employer about unpaid wages or overtime, file a wage claim, or even file a lawsuit in state or federal court. At some point in the legal process, however, most people will want to at least consult with a lawyer. And, for many, it will make sense to hire a lawyer early on. 

There are many ways an employment lawyer can help you with your legal claims for unpaid wages or overtime. A lawyer can help you by:

  • Figuring out whether your employer is breaking the law (that is, whether you have a claim in the first place).
  • Determining how much your employer owes you, including unpaid wages or overtime, other out-of-pocket expenses, and penalties. 
  • Negotiating with your employer to pay you what you are owed, so you don’t have to go through the legal process. 
  • Protecting your rights if you are asserting your claims while still on the job (by, for example, stepping in quickly if you face workplace retaliation). 
  • Contacting and interviewing other employees who may have similar claims. If there are enough of you, it might make sense to file a class action lawsuit. 
  • Filing a wage claim on your behalf with your state labor department (if it has a process for doing so). 
  • Presenting evidence and arguing your wage claim to the administrative judge.
  • Helping you decide whether it makes sense to file a lawsuit against your employer (and, if so, whether you should file in federal or South Dakota court). 
  • Making sure you meet all of the filing requirements and deadlines for suing your employer.
  • Gathering evidence, questioning witnesses, and presenting the presenting the strongest arguments in court to give you the best chance of winning your lawsuit. 

Like many other professionals, lawyers specialize. Most employment lawyers handle wage and hour cases (the legal term for lawsuits over minimum wage, tips, overtime, breaks, and other claims for unpaid wages). An experienced wage and hour lawyer should be familiar with your state’s wage claim process (if it has one); federal, state, and local wage and hour laws; and how the state and federal courts in your area interpret those laws. 

If you’re not being paid for all of your work hours, you may be wondering whether you can afford to hire a lawyer to negotiate with or sue your employer. In wage and hour cases, however, lawyers are often willing to work on a contingency fee basis. This means the lawyer gets paid for his or her time only if you win the case (typically, the lawyer takes a percentage of the total amount you win). And, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and many state laws require an employer who loses a wage and hour case to pay the winning employee’s attorney fees and court costs.

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Counties in the Rapid City, SD area

What Will It Cost to Hire a Wage and Hour Lawyer?

If your employer (or former employer) already owes you unpaid wages, overtime, pay for breaks you had to work through, or other compensation you never received, you may be wondering whether you can afford to hire a lawyer to help you get your money back. The good news is that employment lawyers representing employees usually charge their clients on a contingency fee basis. This means the lawyer gets paid only if you win, out of the money you receive as a settlement or award. 

Below, we explain how attorney fees and court costs work in a case for overtime or other unpaid wages. 

Initial Consultation

Your first step in choosing an attorney – and deciding whether to move forward with your claims against your employer – is an initial consultation. The initial consultation provides you and the attorney an opportunity to decide whether and how you will work together. 

Once you have gathered a few referrals (from friends, colleagues, or the directories and other resources listed on this page), you should contact each lawyer to set up a meeting. At the meeting, you will explain why you think you were underpaid, providing copies of any documents or other evidence you have (such as pay stubs or records of hours worked). The lawyer will review these facts, explain the legal theories that might apply to your situation, and describe how the lawyer would move forward in representing you, if you have strong legal claims against your employer. 

Many attorneys offer an initial consultation free or at a reduced hourly or flat fee. For example, an attorney might offer a free 45-minute consultation, a consultation of up to two hours for a flat fee of $300, or a consultation of any length for an hourly fee of $150. When you call to set up your consultation, ask what the attorney charges for the consultation. Also find out what the attorney would like you to bring. Some attorneys ask new clients to prepare a timeline of events or create a spreadsheet or written chart of pay discrepancies, for example. Particularly if you are paying by the hour, you will want to be efficient in explaining your situation. 

Retainer Agreements

If you and the attorney decide to work together, the attorney will give you a written retainer agreement to sign, setting forth the terms under which you will work together. The retainer agreement will explain how fees and costs will be paid. Read this section carefully, and ask the attorney to explain anything you don’t understand. 

As explained above, attorneys representing employees typically work on a contingency fee basis. This means you don’t have to pay the attorney out of pocket for his or her time. Instead, the attorney collects a fee only if you win, and the attorney’s fee is a percentage of what you receive. 

Within this basic framework, there is plenty of room for variation in, for example, how large a fee the attorney charges, how costs are paid, and what happens if your employer is ordered to pay your attorney fees. Here are some provisions to look for:

  • Contingency fee percentage. What percentage of the total award will the attorney take? Does that percentage change if the case goes to court? Because an attorney’s hours really start to add up as a case nears trial, it’s not unusual for an attorney to charge a higher contingency fee percentage if your employer doesn’t settle. For example, a fee agreement might provide that the lawyer gets 33% of any settlement or award until 90 days before trial, when the percentage increases to 40%. 
  • Court and litigation costs. Who will pay the costs of litigation? Generally, the client (you) must pay expenses such as court filing fees, deposition fees, the cost of expert witnesses, and so on. Some lawyers will agree to advance these fees. This means the lawyer pays the fees, but you are ultimately responsible to pay them, whether you win or lose. Some lawyers ask clients to pay a cost retainer: a deposit that the attorney will put into a trust account, to be used only for costs on the case. The retainer agreement should address this issue, including whether you will have to replenish the cost deposit if it gets used up during the case. And, the agreement should specify that you will receive monthly statements of costs paid from the cost retainer and the balance remaining.
  • Order of payment of costs and fees. If, as is most likely the case, you are paying your attorney a percentage of what you win, the amount you get to keep will depend in part on whether costs are subtracted before or after the attorney takes his or her cut. For example, let’s say you are awarded $300,000 total in a lawsuit. Your retainer says you owe your attorney 40% of the award, and the costs of suit are $30,000. If costs are subtracted before the fee is calculated, you must pay $30,000 in costs and $108,000 in attorney fees (40% of $270,000). You get to keep $162,000. If the fee is calculated before costs are subtracted, you must pay $30,000 in costs and $120,000 in fees, meaning you keep only $150,000. 
  • Statutory attorney fees. Many employment laws require an employer who loses a lawsuit to pay the employee’s attorney fees. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal law that sets the minimum wage, requires employers to pay overtime, and addresses other wage and hour issues, includes this type of attorney fee provision; many state wage and hour laws do as well. The retainer agreement should state how the attorney’s fee will be calculated if fees are awarded. For example, the agreement might state that the attorney gets a percentage of the total amount awarded, including any amount awarded as attorney fees. Or, it might state that the attorney gets the higher of either the attorney fee award or the contingency percentage agreed to in the contract. 
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Talk to a Local Wage and Hour Attorney

Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area

ADVERTISEMENT - LegalConsumer.com does not endorse or review advertised products or services.

Talk to a Local Wage and Hour Attorney

Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area