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Lawyers at Howard Kennedy have computers BLOCKED if they fail to rack up seven hours of work a day

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Tactic is designed to “shame” fee-earners

Lawyers at Howard Kennedy may want to make friends with the IT staff quickly, after the firm revealed it would block the computers of staff who fail to clock up seven hours of work each day.

The London-based outfit has today confirmed a new penalty system will lock the computers of lawyers — including partners — who don’t hit their target hours.

Howard Kennedy, which has a strong real estate practice, expects its lawyers to chalk up seven hours a day across the working week. Fee-earners must average at least 5.6 billable hours each day (80% of their seven-hour daily target). But not all work undertaken by the lawyers can be charged to the client. Matters involving training and supervising are not included.

Lawyers who do not hit this average over any given working week are given a bollocking sent a gentle email reminder from the firm’s big wigs. If that doesn’t work and the poor timekeeping persists over a period of one month, the firm will block the lawyer’s computer.

Speaking to The Lawyer (£), Howard Kennedy’s real estate chairman Julian Hindmarsh revealed that the strong arm tactic is designed to “shame” lawyers who are — as result of tardy timekeeping — forced to have their computer unlocked before they can continue with their work.

The move comes just a month after international giant DLA Piper revealed it would be issuing senior lawyers with red cards for persistently poor time-keeping. The firm, going one-step further than Howard Kennedy, confirmed that “delinquent” partners could even see their monthly drawings reduced. Sending the Legal Cheek commenters into a frenzy, one anonymous lawyer branded DLA’s move “embarrassing”.

28 Comments

LEstrat

So, basically, their computers are locked meaning they cannot do any work at all if they haven’t done enough work already.

Great. Really intelligent tactic that one.

Perhaps clients may wish to boycott this firm for being so childish.

(108)(0)

Anonymous

I haven’t heard of a tactic like this since the French penal colonies described in Papillon.

(11)(2)

Anonymous

Top bantz

(4)(2)

Anonymous

Will this sort of thing spread to other law firms?

Either way, I can’t imagine students flocking to sign up to the billable-target-shaming at these firms.

(14)(1)

Barry H

This is incredibly depressing. Corporate solicitors are just factory slaves with an education and expensive kitchen worktops.

Students: don’t be fooled. You only live once and that life is DEATH. Don’t take advice from the self-deluded prisoners. Run a mile before it’s too late.

(40)(5)

Anonymous

Yeah, instead you should take advice from people who have nothing better to do than give out their worldly advice in the LC comment section… You’re really living the dream yourself.

(10)(16)

Anonymous

Well we know one slave here at least

(0)(0)

Anonymous

“Lawyers at Howard Kennedy have computers BLOCKED if they fail to rack up seven hours of work a day.”

“Fee-earners must hit at least 5.6 billable hours each day.”

Which is it? Such shoddy reporting.

(6)(20)

Anonymous

Surely this is obvious…Non billable time is tracked too. 5.6 billable, 1.4 non-billable. Think!

(26)(4)

Trumpen

Is the time spent logging this myriad of gradations of billable and unbillable time to be logged as well, and more importantly, is it billable or unbillable?

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Howard Kennedy?

Sorry, never met him.

(18)(1)

Anonymous

I’ll be honest, it puts me off working their, what sort of right minded solicitor would want to jump ship to a firm who do that

(5)(16)

Anonymous

I doubt they would want someone who can’t spell so I’m pretty sure they won’t lose sleep over your comment.

(27)(4)

Anonymous

They probably wouldn’t want someone who doesn’t know the difference between spelling and grammar either…

(27)(6)

Anonymous

I bet you triple checked that before posting!

(15)(1)

LegalRec

Working “their” what?

(7)(1)

Jill

This is a really good idea! I doubt many fee earners will ever actually have their computers locked. It’s good fun really. It’s a bit of light hearted banter. Great job guys

(3)(13)

Anonymous

Of course, I’m sure when they’re at the job centre they’ll be wetting their underwear laughing at this top bants.

(5)(1)

Anonymous

How long have you worked in the Howard Kennedy HR team, Jill?

(14)(0)

Anonymous

“Speaking to the Lawyer”…so what does this site do apart from excel in the art of ctrl+v?

(3)(1)

Nigel Farage's 2nd chin

Hi disgruntled pay-walled journalist from The Lawyer 🙂

(7)(1)

Kristyna

Nice try Alex. Better luck next tyme.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Is this an April’s fool joke?

(6)(0)

Anonymous

58 billable units a day is frankly a piece of cake. I can’t see anyone getting locked out of the system. It seems like a cheap attempt to grab headlines. It worked.

(2)(5)

James

This company has gone from one which I respected for its innovative and modern approach to business, to a backward thinking crèche that is clearly unable to manage poor performance without hindering those that don’t need to be micro managed. This is such a lazy and stone aged approach to management and is a massive barrier to progress, innovation and overall success of a business.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Howard Kennedy used to be an aspirational firm, a good place to work. OK the standard of the lawyers was not that great but they had a few big billers/ producers and the fee income and profitability were good. Lately however there seems to have been a policy of getting rid of the decent lawyers leaving clones who are willing to do as they are told. Watch this space – the firm won’t last much longer.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

The highest fee earners in the firm are in fact exempted from this rule.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Interesting that an attempt to improve working standards in fact looks borderline emotional abuse.

Some signs of emotional abuse include:
-Humiliating/ criticising behaviour
-Disciplining with degrading punishments
-Not recognising individual ability and limitations
-Pushing too hard
-Being too controlling

(3)(0)

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