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Innovation update: Howard Kennedy blocks computers of its own lawyers
07 October 2016
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In a demonstration of how law firms are adopting disruptive business practices, Howard Kennedy has unveiled an innovative new scheme. And in an unusual twist, the firm intends to disrupt its own business - by shutting its lawyers' computers down if they fail to complete their timesheets.

Real estate chairman Julian Hindmarsh told The Lawyer magazine that fee-earners at the firm are required to record seven hours work every day, of which 5.6 hours must be chargeable. At the end of the week, any individual who has failed to achieve that target is sent a reminder by email, and if the target is still not reached after a month then the fee-earner is locked out of their computer.

According to Hindmarsh the policy is designed to "name and shame" the lawyer. However, it may not be the most practical solution given that offenders would then be prevented from recording any time at all, and from doing anything much in the way of useful work.
 
  The Howard Kennedy approach to making staff more productive 
 

Howard Kennedy is not the first firm to resort to desperate measures to get people to record their time. Nabarro told its lawyers recently to continue billing clients even when they're having a loo break

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anonymous user
07/10/2016 01:41
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What is it about the legal profession that attracts such power hungry individuals? Substandard firms all seem to have one thing in common: their managements' desire to oppressively exercise power over colleagues overshadows even the most basic implementation of good PR, client service and corporate governance. What a shit shop.
anonymous user
07/10/2016 07:53
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This is gobsmackingly stupid. Talk about treating people in a grown up way....not, so not. This firm should be ashamed of itself.
SumoKing
07/10/2016 08:24
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It's getting a bit silly to call law a profession anymore, even at the top end it's become very industrial and factory modeled (not even a good factory either, an old victorian one) and getting very Management v Shop floor.

Which will all lead to bigger bill, falling standards and customers (yes, customers you really can't hide behind pretending they are clients when you're milking so hard) moving to AI service providers.
anonymous user
07/10/2016 09:28
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Also known as an invitation to fraud not that this concerns Big Law.
anonymous user
07/10/2016 10:09
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I could even understand locking people out if they don't record 7 hours - but locking them out if they don't get 5.6 billable every day - what are they supposed to do if they simply haven't done 5.6 billable hours?!
anonymous user
07/10/2016 11:02
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Open plan, hot-desking, overbearing management treating you like a naughty child when you've been spending too much time on business development or training in a month. It all makes for an utterly horrible experience of being a lawyer. A sh!t shop indeed.
anonymous user
07/10/2016 13:02
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Agreed with anon at 10:09. Unfortunately some days non-chargeable work can just be more pressing than chargeable. Keeping your house in order is key to maintaining long term efficiency and productivity and non-chargeable work is part and parcel of that. Ridiculous policy.
anonymous user
07/10/2016 14:15
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I'm more surprised that the daily chargeable hours target is as low as 5.6 hours. I thought 6-7 chargeable hours was the norm.
anonymous user
07/10/2016 15:05
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Charles Russell Sppechlys ar eimplementing something similar. Onlt theirs just pops up a screen locking message and only allows them to enter time. Only after putting their time in can the lawyers do any other work.
anonymous user
07/10/2016 16:02
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Yes, this is surprisingly extreme, but the attitude isn't. How many of those on here have been on the receiving end of a passive-aggressive (or just aggressive) "are you busy" query, seemingly regardless of how many workload updates/returns/requests etc you're endlessly forced to do. The attitude appears to be that, in spite of having worked hard to get where we are, we'd all much rather sit and stare at You Tube than do any work. Believe me - there's nothing I hate more than being sat at work doing nothing. It all adds to my firm belief that, were I to go back and see my younger self, there's no way I'd recommend he join this increasingly joyless profession.
anonymous user
07/10/2016 21:59
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But why on earth should I be penalised if my secretary has been slow to enter my time sheets? Surely she's the one who should be dragged out for a public whipping?
anonymous user
08/10/2016 13:42
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This is dripping down to the High Street (firm with pretensions of being regional). Timesheets are now to be printed off and handed to supervisors for checking and approval or, where necessary amendment to "catch" more time. This is why I have decided to leave law
Founder
08/10/2016 13:43
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This - and policies like it - smack of management's inability to, well, manage. By all means keep track of productivity and by all means take a fee earner to one side to quietly discuss their targets if they consistently fail to meet them.

But if the problem is endemic to the point of needing this sort of thing, it just shows that there are more serious underlying problems.
anonymous user
08/10/2016 17:22
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Look folks you seem to having difficulty understanding your place in the world. Solicitors are just clerks. You need to wise up and realise doing law doesn't make you an alpha dog it makes you Bob Cratchit.
anonymous user
09/10/2016 15:39
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This sort of oddball-style bullying is what happens when the ugly geek kids who always got chosen last for school sports teams grow up, become partners in private practice and start to exercise their "power" over others in their spectrum-esque ways.
Arachnae
11/10/2016 10:31
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From personal experience I can confirm that the analysis of both Founder and anonymous user 9/10 at 1539 is completely correct