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.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Supply Teacher re...

KS2 Teaching Supply Wakefield

£140 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

£140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam