Performance Management in the Legal Industry

A proven success for any progressive law firm, employee engagement is the measure of employees being emotionally attached to their company and goals.
Research suggests that only 52% of the legal industry is engaged with their work and firm. There is a huge disparity between the Partner-level employees and Associate-level. Upward Reviews are essential in this industry.

Performance evaluation metrics are a great way to determine the efficiency of an attorney at a law firm. It also helps to decide an employee's retention and appraisal at the firm.
Legal firms are generally partnership track firms, making upward reviews essential.
A report by AON published in 2018 highlighted that Partners were the most engaged at 66%, and associates were the least engaged at just 43%, while trainees, support staff, and business service employees fell in between. Upward reviews help engage associates better, bridging the gap between them and the partners they work with.

Factors that affect the performance in the Law firms


Customer Metrics

Net Promoter Score and other surveys can help evaluate customer satisfaction metrics, thereby allowing law firms to understand what the clients liked and disliked with both the firm and the attorneys. All this data can provide a bigger picture of how the firm is performing as a whole.

Responsibility & Workload Metrics

The firm gets a fair idea of how much workload an attorney can handle at a given period and how long it would take to complete their tasks at hand. This further helps in dividing up the workload and responsibilities. Reviews like Upward Reviews can aid in making sure that partners remain accessible and accountable to associates.

Cost Metrics

Cost refers to internal versus external spending and putting those up against the industry average. This provides firms with a clear understanding of whether they are competitive enough; they give the most value, and which attorneys are garnering the most investment return.

Attorney Knowledge & Competence

Attorneys must remain up-to-date with new laws and information. Knowledgeable attorneys who constantly learn are better able to anticipate and tackle new problems at hand and carry out sufficient consultations with clients.

Benefits of Performance Management for the Legal Industry

Meaningful professional development for lawyers

Implementing performance evaluation leads to a more holistic understanding of the employees' work ethics, performance, and skills needed to improve upon. It paves the way for all-round development, not just for lawyers in the firm, but also for the other employees involved (HR, marketing, etc.)

Identify employee strengths and encourage collaboration.

To succeed today, law firms require having attorneys and employees who are highly motivated to reach their full potential. Performance evaluation at law firms allows them to identify top performers, strengths, and weaknesses of employees and encourage better collaboration among attorneys and other staff. Overall knowledge of each employee helps develop development goals keeping in mind their strengths.  

360-degree evaluation & Upward reviews

360-degree feedback is one of the best methods of gaining an overall knowledge about each employee and their performance. This can help create an environment that makes lawyers feel more confident in their strengths. They can understand what they can do to improve upon the areas they may be lacking, thus providing long-lasting benefits to both the lawyers and employees and the firm. Upward reviews help a lot in partnership track firms making sure that each associate feels heard and is able to review the partners he/she's worked with.

Customer Metrics

Net Promoter Score and other surveys can help evaluate customer satisfaction metrics, thereby allowing law firms to understand what the clients liked and disliked with both the firm and the attorneys. All this data can provide a bigger picture of how the firm is performing as a whole.

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