Dechert: $50 fines for late billings

Dechert partners have to stump up fines of $50 (£27.50) for every day a timesheet is overdue as the US firm gets tough on billing.

The firmwide clamp-down was outlined last month when Richard Rizzo, managing partner of Dechert’s Philadelphia office, sent out an email ordering lawyers not to enter bills into the time recording system unless they had been sent to clients.

In the email, Rizzo said: “We believe there have been instances where bills have been finalised in the system – often on the last working day of the month – even though the bills were not in final form and there was no apparent intention actually to send the bills in that form.”

Dechert already has hard and fast rules in place to ensure timesheets are completed without delay.

As part of the firm’s billing decree, which includes the $50-a-day fine, partners’ monthly distributions are withheld if bills are not sent out on time.

A source close to the firm played down the issue, arguing that it related to just one US-based partner.