Wins all round.

The CEO of Dentons for the UK, Ireland and Middle East has received plaudits for revealing that he dropped a meeting to watch his children play football instead. 

"I cancelled an internal meeting last week at the last minute", revealed Paul Jarvis in a Father's Day post on LinkedIn. 

"My only excuse was that I really wanted to watch both my sons play football. I had major dad guilt. I was honest with my colleague who simply replied - 'that’s not an excuse, that’s a great justification'."

The Dentons boss continued, "I missed a meeting. The world didn’t stop spinning. I’m not that important".

"Every now and again we all need a little reminder that whilst work is important, nothing is more important than friends and family", he concluded. "#work #family #motivation #mentalhealth".

pj post

When an accountant at Capita complained that "we are not all CEOs" and that "of course [a] subordinate will tell you that", Jarvis replied that it wasn't a subordinate who approved of his decision to cancel the meeting, and that he would have "no issues with a colleague doing the same, and would actively encourage it".

Challenged by another poster to clarify whether cancelling the meeting "would inconvenience others who would then have to reschedule it, maybe at a time that impacts their family", and whether "the reaction from colleagues would be so positive from a junior woman", Jarvis reassured her, "I would encourage male and female colleagues at all levels to do the same".

Jarvis ended up responding individually to a number of dubious followers to press home the message that he would he happy for any Dentons employee, and not just those in senior management positions, to drop (non-business critical) meetings in order to see their families.

He was also asked about the football. "My 5 year old asked me whether I saw him score 'top bins'. I was very glad to say that I did!", replied Jarvis.

Dozens of people applauded his message, among them staff who were happy to see their leader advocating for family to be put first.

Dentons' Global Social Media Manager congratulated the CEO on his "wonderful leadership", while its Global Director of Innovation Programs noted that "We’re very fortunate to have you leading Dentons UKIME", and its Europe Director commented that "That's true leading by example!" 

Dentons lawyers also registered their approval. "Great post", said a paralegal. "This is true #leadership with #heart and makes good #business sense Paul Jarvis. Thank you", added a senior counsel.

However, Dentons wasn’t quite as expansive as its CEO when RollOnFriday got in touch.

"Paul's LinkedIn post really reflects the firm's view that working practices have changed over the past year, and we want to embrace that rather than fight it", said a spokesman.

"Our new 'you choose' working location policy enables colleagues to have more flexibility to schedule non-critical work commitments such as internal meetings around other things that are important to them, so long as we continue to always deliver for our clients. So yes, we do want to support colleagues as they juggle work and family commitments".

"Paul would also like to confirm that his 5 year old son scored a hat trick and it cost him an ice cream", added the spokesman.

Tip Off ROF


NaylandS 25 June 21 08:29

Of more concern to Dentons staff must be the revelation that their CEO is one of those people who post smug LinkedIn statuses about how wonderful they are at defeating straw men ("Some people say work time is better than family time. But I say no!").

Mass resignations surely to follow.

Anonymous 25 June 21 08:42

I've worked with Paul and he genuinely does encourage balancing working hard with personal/family life. 

There are of course some partners who would still push work above all else and at any cost but if more senior people start pushing messages like Paul's across then just maybe it might be the start of a shift in law firm culture. Here's hoping....

Try and see 25 June 21 08:42

If you are a junior Dentons lawyer whose attendance was needed at an already scheduled meeting that others had already confirmed they were attending and had organised themselves around, try cancelling because you want to watch a family member playing football and see what happens. Go on, try emailing the partners who needed to hear from you and tell them it no longer suits your preferred timetable. See what happens to you. See if it is back slapping all around with jovial “what a guy” messages from them all. 

This is the worst form of virtue signalling. It’s just the boss showing he can do things other more junior members of the firm clearly could not and then sending a “look at me, look at me!” message around to try and show what a great family man and well rounded relaxed chap he really is. It’s easy when you are at the top to do that, sir.  And he is showing huge disrespect for his colleagues, all of whom are supposed to run around and change their own plans to suit him. 

Anonymous 25 June 21 08:56

@Try and see - have you considered the possibility that he might just actually be a decent bloke? You should take a chill pill hon. 

Try and See 25 June 21 09:06

He is a decent bloke I am sure Anon. But as a junior lawyer, I know I would not be allowed to bunk off a meeting to watch my kids play football and expect everyone to cancel and then present it as some sort of virtue. 

Ex Dentoner 25 June 21 09:11

Having worked with Paul he is a genuinely good guy. I am sure he would not have done it if it was a meeting with lots of people that would be put out and I am sure it isn't something he would do all the time. How may internal meetings are really that urgent / important? Good on him, he's got his priorities right

Anonymous 25 June 21 09:14

@try and see. I understand but what more can the geezer do than tell his story and encourage others to take the same action if they can. Lots of firms are making people come back to the office full time and it looks like his mob are trying to do something different. 

Insolvency Mark 25 June 21 09:16

Very positive - my only query was why he needed to cancel at the last minute - did he not know of the match in advance?

Skiver 25 June 21 09:18

I get the cynicism and agree the LinkedIn clout chasing is a touch cringe, but at least he’s trying to alter the culture, which must be like turning an oil tanker at Dentons. Putting his money where his mouth is by publicly telling everyone isn’t nothing.  

No doubt some partners will scoff, but it moves the needle when the CEO emphasises WLB. 


Anonymous 25 June 21 09:19

This reminds me of billionaire Sheryl Sandberg's execrable exhortation to women to "lean in" instead of asking firms to "lean out". It's so easy if you're the boss and not a lackey working for a narcissistic weasel who makes snarky comments querying where you are...

Aerosexual 25 June 21 09:20

I’ve done many deals with Jarvis over the years. You won’t find a funnier bloke. I doubt he’s your normal CEO.  Take the post for what it is. Hopefully others will follow. 

McJobs 25 June 21 10:01

This is the reason that Dentons is on the lowest end of the pay scales as reported by ROF previously. This is the culture and leadership that creates one of the lowest paying jobs environment in law. Great job Paulo

Crispy 25 June 21 10:25

Agree McJobs. You’re absolutely right. It would have been much better for him to tell staff to ignore family. We all need to spend more time in meetings and less time with our families. You’re a culture guru! Bravo old boy!

McJobs 25 June 21 10:50

@ Crispy: Nice straw man comeback there that completely misses the point, which is: THE NUMBERS DO NOT LIE. You cannot argue that Dentons is not on the bottom of the pile in terms of pay scales. There is a reason for that. Yet funnily enough Dentons hourly rates that it charges clients are on par with all other firms. How do you explain this other than poor culture and leadership? All of the good and serious lawyers left for better pay. And clients are becoming aware that they are paying average rates for below average lawyers. But hey, if you are unambitious go for a McJob at Dentons just don't complain about the low pay.   

Aunty Ann 25 June 21 10:53

To everyone who's reading this...what are you going to remember most in the future? A work related meeting or that occasion when your son scored a hat trick? Just asking...Toodle Pip.

Jimmy Jimmy 25 June 21 11:42

@ NaylandS 25 June 21 08:29. It would appear that the 11000 people that liked his post probably disagree with you. 

London but not city 25 June 21 11:53

To be fair, in response to those commenting on Denton’s low profits, it is not really a city firm. More a national firm with all its employees in London. Like an Eversheds when it comes to what it does, but without the provincial network.

My mate Dave was thinking of instructing them on a dispute he has with his plumber, who made a right mess of the kitchen by all accounts. A letter from Dentons should sort it out, I told him. 

Anon2 25 June 21 12:02

It was an internal meeting. Brave man! 

Would he have done the same with a client meeting?

Name 25 June 21 13:02

Today I saw on Linkedin someone posting a picture of the private letter which he gave to his daughter letting her know that she can always approach him about anything. That's just about the most cringeworthy thing I've ever seen. Did he give it to her and then immediately grab it out of her hands, or did he sneak into her room later to take it back from her? Maybe he took a picture of it first for that precious Linkedin cred and then give it to her later as an afterthought? Is nothing sacred anymore?

Pile on 25 June 21 13:10

Weird that there is a pile on for a dad watching his sons playing football and encouraging his staff to do the same. 

appraisal record 25 June 21 13:38

1. Needs to improve his planning. If he wants to cancel his attendance at a meeting, particularly one that will be cancelled if he doesn't attend, he should do so in good time, not at the last minute.

2. Needs to show more respect for the time commitments of others - and when cancelling meetings at the last minute for personal convenience should show some understanding and empathy for the avoidable inconvenience he is causing to others.

3. Needs to show more self awareness, particularly of the justifications available to those with and without power in an organisation.

Recommendation. Before being allowed to continue in any management post he  should write out the two posts above from Try and See above one hundred times (or one time for each like those posts have generated, currently running at 125 and 59 respectively)



Anonymous 25 June 21 13:42

Maybe not @12.02 but that isn't the point.  In reality we all know 9 times out of 10 if not more that client meetings are much more important than internal ones; and also clients pay the fees so it's not the same thing.

MissorMs 25 June 21 14:42

Cringeworthy virtue signally. Do Denton's genuinely have a brilliant flexible and family friendly working policy everyone can benefit from at all levels (without having to apologise or risk repercussions) or is this just being another Linkedin "wow look how great I am" post. 

Lydia 25 June 21 15:37

The only thing that matters in this is "last minute". It is utterly unaccetpable to mess everyone around because you made a massive c ockup and do not have your child's diary. Since 1989 when our first went to nursery school we have never had to do this as every event has been in the diary well in advance, sometimes 8 months in advance. 


Just to decide you will mess around loads of colleagues because you did not bother to check the home diary is disgusting.

Crispy 25 June 21 16:13

Yes Lydia. He messed around 100s of colleagues. One colleague Lydia. One colleague. Seemingly with consent. Read. The. Story. Nice to know you haven’t cancelled a meeting since 1989. Great virtual signalling Lydia! Super mum!

Anonymous 25 June 21 17:12

Dude... what kind of fisting did Lydia give Crispy to leave him with that kind of simmering rage?

I'm simultaneously revolted and aroused at the thought of what kind of savage humiliation she must have previously heaped on him to leave him smarting so badly that he was so desperate to lash out at her over a relatively benign comment about cancelling meetings at short notice.

Anon 25 June 21 17:52

Sentiment is right - there are more important things in life.

Need more details - if football was a last minute thing and wasn’t poor planning then fair enough. On other hand, it’s rude and disrespectful to the time of others to cancel at the last minute - particularly where for someone in his position, the other person probably felt they couldn’t say no to his meeting request and may have rearranged commitments themselves or planned them based on his commitment to attend only to have to reschedule.

I wonder whether that internal meeting was even needed at all.

Soccer Mom 25 June 21 22:29

Virtue signaling (oh crap I forgot about the football match) 2: important family time: 0

Anon 26 June 21 13:29

Cancelling a meeting only becomes a big deal when you feel the need to tell the world and lecture them about the meaning of life 

Anonymous 26 June 21 20:28

If he such great guy why does he feel the need to have to announce this wonderful act of putting his kids first. 

Sir Woke XR Remainer FBPE MBE 27 June 21 09:41

good feller

more of this positive role modelling from senior people please

Anonymous 27 June 21 23:15

None of us are important.

We are nothing more than a collection of molecules that has grouped together and learned to think.  In less than an eye blink our molecules will detach themselves from each other and return to their previous state. 

Will anyone remember us in 50 years time?  A hundred?  Two hundred?  A thousand?  Plastic carrier bags will last longer than we will.

Even as a species we may not last another thousand years.

So yeah.  Enjoy your kids' football.  No-one cares about the new letterheads anyway.

Terrence Woo 01 July 21 13:37

Insincere virtue signalling from the top whilst associates routinely miss out on valuable family time by working into the evenings and weekends.

His post is tagged '#motivation', but what motivation can any working parent draw from a CEO bragging about his power to cancel meetings on a whim? A slap in the face to every employee juggling the competing demands of work and family. 

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