Preparing for a Performance Review

I joined my firm just over a year ago and have a performance review coming up, and I’ve heard from my coworkers that I should be well prepared. Any advice on how I can prepare in advance?

These reviews are a major part of most legal organizations’ performance evaluation process. To prepare, you should conduct aself-review in advance in which you list your major accomplishments for the year.

Not only are they a good way to see how far you’ve come along in your legal career in the last year, but, submitting self-reviews to your supervisor in advance helps refresh her 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 yoursalary, or at least a chance tonegotiate more compensation and benefits in your legal job. Get revved up for your performance review by following these 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 paralegal 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 Iimprovement
    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 or technical proficiency, for example — in the coming year.