Law Firm Management

Partner Evaluations Are Key to Improving Performance

, The Legal Intelligencer


Faced with unprecedented changes in the legal profession — usually referred to as the "new normal" — firms must pay more attention than ever to improving their overall performance. Because one of the changes is a supposed oversupply of lawyers, a growing number of firms, midsize as well as large, are now conducting evaluations, not just of associates but also of partners.

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What's being said

  • Marc Krass

    I think you understate the primary purpose of conducting evaluations when you say "fair and effective evaluations can improve individual partners' performance and therefore overall firm performance." Improving lawyer performance, and with it, the overall performance of the firm is THE reason for investing the time, effort and emotional energy in evaluations. This is the overarching justification for evaluations that every firm member can support. If a lawyer is opposed to strengthening the firm by growng the performance of every attorney, invite him/her to practice elsewhere. While evaluations certainly can be used to measure achievement of goals and as a basis for compensation, the smart firm never lets evaluations--or anything else--create a wedge between individual lawyers and the firm by fostering a "we-they" environment. When that happens, trust erodes, fear grows and dysfunctional behaviors are triggered, all of which impede the firm's success. The best firms strive to maintain a purely collegial dynamic by which every lawyer has the back of every other lawyer and strives to help each other do better.

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