Wednesday, May 4, 2011

European law firm experiments with computers that change color based on productivity

Wow. From Roll on Friday via Above the Law:

Lawyers at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain can tell how effectively their colleagues are billing from the colour of their computer screens.

An insider complains that the firm has inserted a "nifty programme" on associates' computers which changes the colour of the screens depending on how profitable they are. Red means they're losing the firm money, yellow means they're doing OK but must try harder, and green means that the key to the partnership washroom is within grasp. And given that the firm has open plan offices, everyone can check out everyone else's performance.

It seems an extraordinary development for a firm given a cracking score by its own staff in RoF's Firm of the Year survey. But it's true. A spokesman confirmed that colour coding was used, but said this was an "award-winning* system" that was designed to enable lawyers to "develop their commerciality, and understand the work they're doing and the amount of time they're spending on it". Apparently it was absolutely not intended to shame unprofitable staff in front of their colleagues, so that must be just a happy consequence.


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