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Hogan Lovells denies joining movement to allocate work blindly to junior lawyers

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But the firm has made contact with the guru attempting to revolutionise working patterns at rivals

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The London office of global law firm Hogan Lovells has confirmed that it will not follow Ashurst and Clifford Chance in allocating associates work on a “blind” basis.

However, the firm admits that it is keen to explore ways to improve the efficient distribution of work, and has revealed that it has held informal discussions with blind work allocation guru Dave Cook.

Cook has been overseeing a pilot at silver circle outfit Ashurst over the past three months. The project has seen work assigned to associates according to previous tasks they have completed rather than because they are requested for jobs by individual partners.

Speaking to Legal Cheek, Hogan Lovells’ London real estate chief Michael Gallimore explained his firm was taking a more cautious approach. He commented:

We are working with an independent consultant, our people and our clients to look at different ways of allocating work for certain projects. This might be by using a project manager, for example, who can recommend the right solution for each matter to partners — based on client needs, our capacity, lawyer skill set and our people’s career development requirements. The project will enhance the many things we are already doing around developing our talent and providing the most efficient and innovative solutions to our clients.

Keen to distance Hogan Lovells from the more controversial parts of the Ashurst scheme, Gallimore said that partners would still have the final say on who got what work. He continued:

The decision regarding work allocation will not be removed from partners — the consultant presents partners with various options based on capacity, skill set, career development needs, and the partner then ultimately decides what is most appropriate. This will ultimately lead to more efficiency, fairer allocation of work and free up partner time.

Cook has previously advised accountancy giants PwC and government departments including the Home Office. He was also responsible for a similar work allocation trial at magic circle firm Clifford Chance back in 2012.

Commenting on a story that appeared on The Lawyer (registration required) earlier this month, the management expert said:

Having an impartial and objective individual allocating work, allows for individuals to discuss opportunities more freely and for there to be more visibility of wider opportunities which could enhance their career.

Continuing to trumpet the benefits of his blind allocation system, Cook goes on to suggest that it will eradicate “benevolent bias” that generally impacts females more than males. He claims:

This approach pretty much eradicates that issue, focusing on capability, capacity and development requirements to identify individuals that are interested in the type of work and giving them the choice of whether they take it on.