Why Performance Reviews Matter in the Legal Field

Posted March 16th, 2023 by Urban Legal recruitment

Annual performance reviews are vital. They provide an opportunity for feedback and goal-setting that can lead to higher job satisfaction, better communication, and faster career advancement. In this article, we'll explain why performance reviews matter in the legal field and provide tips for preparing for them.

Performance reviews give firms an opportunity to offer feedback on their employees’ work to contribute to their professional growth and create a high-functioning workforce. By identifying areas of improvement, legal professionals and their employers can set goals for the coming year.

Although preparing for a performance evaluation may seem daunting, it can result in increased job contentment, improved communication, and accelerated professional growth.

This article will describe why performance reviews matter in the legal field and how to prepare for the next review.

Why are performance reviews important?

A survey conducted by the American Bar Association found that performance evaluations are the primary means of assessing associate performance at law firms. This indicates that performance reviews are widely used and valued in the legal industry.

While as a legal professional, you may have a good sense of your strengths and weaknesses, sporadic feedback can make it challenging to know how you're really doing. 

A performance review offers concrete input and helps you understand where you thrive and where there is room for improvement. By recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, you can take charge of your career and develop a plan for the future.

Now let’s discuss how you can gear up for your next performance review.

How to prepare for a performance review 

Typically, performance reviews take place once a year. Some firms may offer them biannually or on a quarterly basis. Regardless of your employer’s approach, preparedness is key.

The reason for this is simple. Being prepared for your performance review will keep the conversation productive and beneficial for both sides.

Here are some strategies you can use to get ready for your next performance review.

Review your job description

People tend to be laser-focused on their job description before they’re hired. Afterward, it may slip through the cracks. Revisiting your job description or employment contract will give you important insight into your role. This will help you prepare for discussions about your strengths and limitations.

Talk to your colleagues

Before you sit down with your employer, you may want to touch base with your colleagues and supervisors. Requesting feedback can help you determine how others see you—and provide an objective take on your performance. Be sure to ask whether there’s anything you can do to better support the team. 

Develop a plan for the future

Be honest with yourself. Do you excel at writing briefs but struggle to return your clients’ emails in a timely manner? Whatever your weaknesses may be, brainstorm steps you can take to improve and provide more value to your employer. Don’t forget to disclose the things you do well too. A balanced take is key. 

Consider advancement

Be willing to bring up compensation and career advancement during your next review. After all, this is exactly what these conversations are for! Start by making a list of your accomplishments and future plans. This will give you leverage if you request a raise or decide to put your hat in the ring for a promotion. 

In closing, performance reviews are essential in the legal industry. By preparing for your next review, you can make sure the conversation is productive and efficient, leading to greater opportunities down the road.

Time for a change?

Urban Legal Recruitment matches partners, associates, and in-house legal counsel with the best firms and companies for their needs and qualifications. Choosing which firm to apply your hard-earned skills is no simple task. It varies from person to person, and the pros and cons of different types of firms are somewhat complex. 

So, why not connect with us to take those next steps? We can help you identify the professional environment you need to truly thrive, assist you in navigating a range of firms looking for top talent, and connect you with your next role. 

Please contact us for more information, or submit your resume to get started on your search. We look forward to hearing from you!