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Why More BigLaw Firms May Start Ditching Annual Reviews

Aebra Coe Law360.com

At least two global law firms are doing away with their annual associate reviews in favor of ongoing, associate-initiated performance evaluations, a new approach that may be the wave of the future for law firms.

Last week, Hogan Lovells announced that it has finished rolling out a program replacing its annual associate reviews at its offices around the world with ongoing performance assessments driven by the associates themselves, and on Tuesday news broke that Allen & Overy LLP has been quietly implementing a similar program since last year.

The move offers associates at the law firms the ability to get a handle on their performance in real time and make adjustments throughout the year to how they work, and even allows them to better understand where they stand in terms of their careers, according to the law firms.

Due to generational preferences, and large law firms’ tendencies to mimic one another's successes, some say more law firms may ditch their annual reviews as they learn how it pans out at Hogan Lovells and Allen & Overy.

Michelle Fivel, a partner at legal recruiting firm Major Lindsey and Africa, says many law firms tend to be better at some forms of feedback than others.

“There is certainly feedback regularly on some level. You hand in a brief and get a redlined copy back … What’s not as regular is what this means for your development as an associate, or your standing in the firm,” she said.

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