DLA Piper’s red card system to punish ‘delinquent’ senior lawyers who fail to work seven-and-a-half-hours a day

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By Thomas Connelly on

Partners could have their monthly drawings reduced


Senior lawyers at global giant DLA Piper could now be punished for failing to clock up at least seven-and-a-half-hours of work each day, thanks to changes to the firm’s “red card” system.

Coming over all Mark Clattenburg, DLA will now issue cards to partners who fail to complete their timesheets proving they have hit their seven-and-a-half-hour a day quota, Monday to Friday.

According to a report on legal news site The Lawyer this afternoon, red cards could result in senior lawyers having “their quarterly profit drawings withheld”. The move — which could see a few afternoon tee-off times being cancelled — appears to hit partners where it hurts. Their pockets.

Furthermore, partners that repeatedly engage in (what the firm bizarrely describes as) “delinquent behaviour” could see their monthly drawings reduced.

The system, which was first introduced by DLA back in 2010, underwent a number of changes earlier this year. Designed to “improve productivity”, DLA will now track how partners spend their time and, more importantly, which ones are happy to pocket the profit without putting the hours in.

Speaking to The Lawyer, DLA chief operating officer Andrew Darwin explained partners who miss their targets on a “consistent basis” will be subject to “sanctions in terms of their drawings and distributions”. Continuing he said:

Recently we extended that to cover delinquent time recording but you have to be pretty delinquent to fall foul of that. It’s not about forcing people to record a minimum number of chargeable hours. Our time record protocol requires people to account for all of their time whether it’s chargeable or non-chargeable.

So watch out “delinquent” partners of DLA. Big Brother is watching.