Clifford Chance Accused Of 'Padding'

The FT reports that top legal adviser Clifford Chance has been accused of pressurising junior lawyers in the US to over record the time they spend on client affairs.

A damaging 13 page internal memo has been made public which claims that the firm engages in a practice of 'padding' - a process where hours spent working for a client are inflated in order to meet internal billing targets. The memo was written by a group of six junior Clifford Chance US lawyers.

The memo is also said to contain a claim that the firm allocates senior lawyers to client work when more junior, and less expensive, collegues are capable of undertaking the task. A spokesman for Clifford Chance has denied the 'padding' accusations. The firm will now need to engage in a major charm offensive to reassure clients that the claims are untrue.

Morale at the firm in the US is already a problem. American Lawyer magazine recently released the results of a job satisfaction survey. Clifford Chance ranked 132nd and last in the poll.

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