Exclusive: Stewarts fines partners for not recording 6 hours a day
27 April 2018
Stewarts will slap its partners with a fine of £100 if they record fewer than six hours on any given day.
Managing Partner John Cahill sent a memo this week to all fee-earners at the firm stating that there had been a "persistent problem
" with many partners and staff failing to record their time promptly. He outlined a new set of rules to crack down on time sheet tardiness which stated that partners are expected to '"lead from the front"
and would have to prepare an additional time-sheet report to be sent to the
Managing Partner each week. Partners with missing timesheets without a "compelling explanation
" will be subject to "a compulsory £100 charitable contribution for each day on which their time recording is less than 6 hours
" to be paid to the Stewarts Foundation.
||"You've let your school down, you've let your house down, but most importantly you've let yourself down"
Stewarts is a business, it needs to get the cash in, and encouraging partners to keep on top of this is not necessarily a bad thing. Particularly as associates at most firms are repeatedly brow-beaten by partners to record their time promptly, However a source told RollOnFriday that "it hasn't gone down well
" since "junior partners are up in arms about the lack of consultation and the fact the fine is the same for them as it is for the big cheeses on £2.5m a year
A spokesman from the firm said "Our firm is passionate about openness and transparency and in the billing process that can be best achieved by the contemporaneous recording of time. Like most firms we have sophisticated systems to capture time but lawyers still need to be encouraged to capture all their time and release it on a daily basis to ensure accuracy.
It is important that our Partners set the very best example for younger members of the firm. We have therefore introduced a requirement for charitable donations to the Stewarts Foundation for those Partners that do occasionally default. We will exercise discretion and operate the system fairly. Our Partners are well remunerated and the cost will not be a disproportionate to them and they will be supporting charitable causes.
The 6 hour threshold includes both chargeable and non-chargeable time and is intended to encourage best practice rather than drive chargeable time or revenue. Following consultation at the Partners strategy day in March the system will be introduced from 1 May 2018.