LegalJob was talking with an AmLaw 100 partner about the much to be desired “process” of filling out associate evaluation forms. The partner told me that associates are not sure how best to complete the form and whether anyone reads the form anyway. That may be so but associates may want to use this process as an opportunity to sell themselves to firm management and ask questions (such as what additional steps should be taken to ensure you are on the right track). Fill out the form and then copy the information and write a separate memorandum to your boss (make sure you follow chain of command and do not jump to your boss’ boss) detailing your achievements. Some ideas are provided below.
1. Did you achieve a victory for a client during this performance period? Articulate specifically how you contributed. Remember to give credit to others where appropriate.
2. Did the firm collect a good percentage on your billable hours? Make it your business to know this information and then, if positive, highlight this fact in your memo. The firm knows this number but it cannot hurt to remind them. This may come in handy also to soften the blow if your billable hours are low but your collection percentage is high.
3. Did you receive praise or acknowledgement from anyone outside the firm? Did you win an award? Did you write an article or a present a speech?
4. Did you bring in a client or did you make a significant connection with someone who could be a significant client in the future?
5. Do you have a “business plan” which lays out how you are going to meet your statistical targets (perhaps you can estimate where your work will come from in the next performance year or you have a plan for bringing in certain clients). If you are concerned about hours, use this memo as an opportunity to articulate your concern.