Are you ready for your performance review?

Many of you are getting ready for your annual review. I highly recommend taking some time now to identify all that you have contributed this past year and either preparing a pre-review memo or having key points outlined so you can discuss them during your review. The reason this is so valuable is because it will help you to have clarity about what you have accomplished and where you have grown and had impact.  Particular areas you may want to focus on are:

  • Projects you have taken on that were previously managed by team members more senior than you;
  • Initiatives where you were able to create more efficient or less expensive ways of doing things, such as maximizing existing technology or negotiating with a vendor for better rates;
  • New responsibilities you’ve taken on in addition to the ones you’ve already owned.

By providing evidence to show what you have contributed beyond your job description, your supervisor will be in a stronger position to get you the recognition and rewards you deserve!

In addition, this is a good time to take stock of where you have grown professionally.  Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself to help you hone in on your 2017 achievements:

  • What are you most proud of that you worked on, and why?
  • What project did you learn the most from?
  • What new Partners, Firm leaders and senior administrators did you get to work with this year and what was your role?
  • What results did you impact and how did you do it?

Your review is also a great opportunity to articulate the types of projects and responsibilities you would like to take on in the coming year. These questions can help you to proactively manage your career development and identify growth opportunities you would like to be involved with in 2018:

  • Are there any upcoming initiatives you would like to play a role in?
  • What skills would you like to further develop, and how can you do so at the Firm?
  • Are there any professional association meetings or conferences that you would like to attend, and what is the business case for the firm sponsoring your involvement?
  • Are there any department initiatives that you would like to work on that could help maximize efficiency and establish best practices?

The process of proactively preparing your for your review will also help you determine whether you are still growing in your role or need another job. Having interviewed thousands of law firm professionals, I can vouch for the fact that the time to look for a new role is when your skills and knowledge are not likely to expand much over the course of the next year.  Remember that more volume does not equal growth!

Taking control over your career is the best way to get what you want and need. I do encourage you to partake in this pre-review process, but I also ask you to please stop and think about your particular firm’s culture and to adapt how you deliver this information in a way that will resonate and be most appropriate. For example, at one of the Firms where I worked, sending a pre-review memo to my Hiring Partner prior to our meeting was very well received. At another Firm, a conversation worked best because the memo was too aggressive for their culture. What do you believe is the best way to communicate what you have contributed in 2017, and where do you want to expand your contributions next year?

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