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

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By Thomas Connelly on

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”.