A Matter of Time: Law Firms Cracking Down on Punctuality

By Andrew Lu on January 08, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Because keeping track of every six minutes of your time is not enough, associates at one law firm in Shanghai must now also clock in due to some apparent punctuality issues in the office.

Hogan Lovell partner Andrew McGinty sent out an email to all associates telling them that he wants them to be at their desks by 9:15 a.m. at the latest, reports Above the Law.

Those who fail to come to the office on time will be spoken to, warned, and possibly disciplined. In fact, punctuality may even be considered in promotions decisions, appraisals, and pay reviews.

The one benefit of working in a law office when it comes to scheduling is that you can usually decide when you arrive in the office (when you leave, however, is another matter). Unless you have a meeting or a pressing deadline, it's not surprising for associates (and especially partners) to roll in well after 10 a.m.

After all, you have billable requirements (and non-billable obligations) and you may be putting in well over twice the 40-hour workweek just to stay afloat. So why not have the ability to slowly roll out of bed if no one will be harmed?

Well, partners have idiosyncrasies like the rest of us. Some idiosyncrasies, like decorating your office in a "Wizard of Oz" theme, are humorous. However, idiosyncrasies that affect everyone, like wanting associates at their desks by 9:15, are just annoying.

Sure, McGinty is a managing partner in Shanghai and so he gets to call the shots. If he wants people in at 9:15, presumably he has this right.

But micromanaging acts like this, and other displays of mistrust, will likely hurt morale and embitter associates.

Associates are a fluid bunch anyway, and this may only precipitate their desire to look for a position elsewhere. Fortunately for McGinty and Ho-Love, there are no shortage of qualified attorneys dying for the opportunity to come in at 9:15 in the morning.

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