Winckworth Sherwood was so concerned that its lawyers would ignore a terrorist alert in order to hit their billing targets that it used its emergency communications system to tell them an extra day would be added the following week.

The firm's office, Minerva House, is located on the opposite side of the Thames to Fishmonger Hall, where Usman Khan attacked a prisoner rehabilitation conference last Friday afternoon and killed two people.

Khan was shot dead by police after he was fought onto London Bridge and held at bay by a chef wielding a narwal tusk and a man with a fire extinguisher.

An hour later, Winckworth Sherwood sent staff a text instructing them to evacuate Minerva House as soon as possible. Half an hour later, it advised them to go home.

And then followed up with another, stating, "This is an emergency message from the WS DR System. In case you are concerned about month end, we will treat Monday as the last day of November for billing purposes." 

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Some staff felt the communication was misjudged rather than comforting.

"Considerate of WS to give an extra day for billing in the middle of a terrorist incident", said one. "No further comment needed", said another.


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It may be the End Times -but it's also the last day of the month.


However, the firm appears to have calculated that some of its other lawyers are so worried about getting their hours up, they would ignore nearby screams, police sirens and gunshots.

“The messages were sent to ensure the safety of all members of the Firm", said a spokesman. "The highlighted message was meant to ensure nobody felt any need to return to the office or remain in the building”.

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Comments

Anonymous 06 December 19 10:36

It says something about the culture that it needed even to be articulated. I never got this manic obsession with month-end. Just bloody bill monthly - it matters not one jot when in the month you bill.

Anon 06 December 19 12:30

Clearly intended as a failsafe in case work obsessives were minded to self-assess risk and go back into work to post time/issue bills etc. No indication of culture or otherwise. Nothing more than example of tabloiding at its worst.

Anonymous 06 December 19 12:43

anon 12:30 What story did you read? The article comes from the view it was a failsafe, not an indication of culture?

It's poking fun at the fact lawyers are such work obsessives that they need this kind of message.

Anon 06 December 19 16:17

Actually this seems pretty reasonable.

 

During the London bombings our office was evacuated and closed for the rest of the day by the police. We were opposite the police station and they had received a worrying package.

As a result I was unable to complete the work needed to satisfy a deadline in an undertaking. As a matter of courtesy I called the other firm (magic circle) to explain. Now given the horror of the day I expected at the least a sympathetic response. Nope, that wasn't to happen. It was made very clear that missing the deadline was unacceptable.

If people work in firms with that kind of attitude they are likely to be worried even when the unexpected happens. What's the harm in putting their minds at rest?

Anonymous 07 December 19 02:09

I think an email passing on this message would have sufficed.

An 'emergency' text suggests that billing is as important as safety which in the circumstances was misjudged. 

SecularJurist 07 December 19 12:21

That means a lost day in December. You'll be working on Christmas Day, so man the decks ye swabs.