Prepare Well in Advance for a Performance Review 


By Jamy J. Sullivan, J.D., Executive Director, Robert Half


Performance reviews are a major part of the performance evaluation process at most organizations. It’s important to be well prepared for these meetings. To adequately prepare, conduct a self-review in advance in which you list your major accomplishments for the year.

Not only does this exercise offer a good way to see how far you’ve come along in your legal career in the last year, but, submitting a self-review to your supervisor in advance of your performance meeting helps to refresh their memory of all your accomplishments and talents. Use the process as a time to shine. A great review just might lead to a promotion, a bump in your salary, or at least a chance to negotiate more compensation and benefits in your legal job. Get revved up for your performance review by following these three tips:

1. Name your accomplishments. Put together a record of your achievements and activities since your last review. This includes every instance in which you met a milestone or reached a benchmark, as well as any recognition you or your work received. Mention any certifications you’ve attained, and testimonials or thank-you notes from colleagues or clients. Also list the times when you went above and beyond by taking on extra projects or doing more than what your legal job description required.

2. List your goals. Performance reviews aren’t just about reflecting on the past; they’re also about looking forward. Prepare for this part of your review by including in your self-review a list of goals for your legal career and how you plan to achieve those goals within your firm or company. Bringing a game plan to the review will demonstrate to your manager that you are engaged, dedicated and intend to stay.   

3. Acknowledge areas of improvement. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Before your performance review, conduct your own private self-evaluation. Take a look at your legal job description and consider which skills could use honing, or how you might have achieved better results on certain projects. Come up with a few suggestions as to how you plan to step up your game — improving your practice area expertise, technical proficiency or sector knowledge, for example — in the coming year.


Jamy Sullivan is executive director of the legal practice at Robert Half, a premier provider of talent and consulting solutions for a wide range of initiatives in the legal field, including compliance, contract management, data privacy, litigation support and more. Visit