Working late is no excuse: law firm’s email goes viral

Lawyers at global firm Hogan Lovells's Shanghai office have been told to be there by 9.15am – or else

If Andrew McGinty ran the offices featured in John Grisham's legal thrillers, it's fair to assume they wouldn't have sold so many copies.

But the British managing partner at the major global law firm Hogan Lovells has found himself at the centre of a row after demanding that the highly paid lawyers in his Shanghai office stop sloping into work late – in an email that was leaked to a legal blog.

In a lengthy and painstakingly worded memo circulated to associates and staff, Mr McGinty demanded that all employees should be at their desks by 9.15am – or explain why not.

“The Shanghai partners take the view that fee-earning staff are expected to manage their own time in a professional manner and that their remuneration takes account of the fact that there will be times when they need to work long hours to meet client deadlines or expectations,” he wrote.

“Therefore there will be no automatic right for fee earners to arrive late the day after late working and any late arrival due to late working or non-business-related reasons will be with the agreement of a supervising partner (not necessarily myself).

“I am usually in by 9am every day and will be doing my own visual checks (as will other partners) – yesterday morning the office looked almost deserted at that time (with apologies to those who were here) which is simply not acceptable,” he added.

“Persistent non-justifiable lateness will henceforth be included as a factor that will be considered in relation to internal promotions, appraisals, pay reviews and renewal of contract decisions.”

Mr McGinty, who was educated at Leeds Metropolitan University, is an old China hand with expertise in public mergers, acquisitions and foreign investment. He was still at his desk at 8.30pm Shanghai time yesterday when contacted by The Independent, but declined to comment on the email.

The London office of Hogan Lovells, which employs 2,500 lawyers around the world, also declined to comment, although one insider pointed out that the edict was not global company policy but rather a local initiative.

The idea of a compulsory 9.15am start caused something approaching an uproar in the world of big law as the email went viral yesterday.

“Do they also need to get a hall pass to go to the bathroom?” wondered Elie Mystal, the editor of the website Above The Law which published the email.

“Look, you’ve got people who have work to get done, hours to bill, and probably calls with New York or London that have to be made at odd Shanghai hours. As long as all of that is being done, who cares if somebody is at work by 9.15 or not?

“And while we’re here, let’s also mention that we live in a world of iPads, Androids, Blackberries and ubiquitous Wi-Fi connectivity. Surely, making people be at their desks at a set time everyday is beyond dumb and totally inefficient.”

Not everyone was so sympathetic. One commentator on the website observed: “This is how everyone below you lives, beholden to the time clock no matter what.

"Support staff has to be in the office at 9 every morning come hell or high water even if they were working until past midnight the day before … so stop bitching and count yourselves lucky to be employed as an associate at all making a high salary.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower