DLA Piper to recognise pro bono in billing targets

DLA Piper has rolled out an initiative across its international LLP that will see pro-bono work recorded in exactly the same way as fee-earning hours.

Nicholas Patrick
Nicholas Patrick

The decision, made by the firm’s UK management team, will bring the rest of its international LLP in alignment with the US and Australian practices, which have already adopted the practice.

Under the new arrangement, DLA Piper’s billing systems have been changed to allow pro-bono cases to be opened and given matter numbers. From 1 May 2012, fee-earners will be able to record pro-bono hours on a like-for-like basis with billable work, meaning one pro-bono hour is equivalent to one hour’s fee earning, with time recorded counting towards a lawyer’s budget and used to calculate utilisation, salary and bonus payments.

Nicholas Patrick, who was appointed co-head of pro bono at the firm earlier this year, sharing the role with US-based partner Lisa Dewey, said: “This approach will ensure that our pro-bono clients receive the same high standard of service as our commercial clients.

“It’ll also assist the firm to capture, monitor and accurately report on our pro-bono performance.”