“O” is for why this is going to be an “outstanding” associate evaluation season!

It’s that time of year again…when law firms prepare to let associates know that the good things they’ve been doing have been noticed, and on the flip side, what needs to be tweaked.Where does that leave the associate in this whole process? The short answer: with a lot of responsibility. And yet, many associates dedicate a bare minimum amount of time to completing the requisite written reports and/or preparing for the evaluation meeting.My goal is to help associates be more business-minded throughout this evaluation season. Many professional development officers tell me that associates can afford to have a better understanding of how their firm operates. If you’re in a small firm, this need is that much more punctuated. A recent study cites “new client business” as the biggest challenge.

More than that, I want associates to be careerpreneurs: taking charge of their own career development.

With these themes in mind, here are a few topics to expect from me in the coming months:

Salary Negotiation

Negotiating an initial salary can be stressful, and it doesn’t get any easier once you have the job and want a raise. Be sure to download my free guide on the 21st Century Lawyer’s Guide to Salary Negotiation.

Self-Assessment and Accomplishments

It’s better to have a sense ahead of time what feedback you are going to receive. To do that, you need to spend some time reflecting on the work you did this year and what you could have done differently.

Many of my clients prefer a self-enhancement approach to their feedback, which is why I developed a guide that uses accomplishments as a basis for reflection: The Associate’s Guide to Creating a Portfolio of Accomplishments.

Career Changes

Sometimes reflecting on your job causes you to question whether it’s even right for you (any longer). I’ve already discussed the internal and external reasons How to Know If It’s Time To Change Practice Areas or My Job.

If it turns out that you are serious about looking for a new job, I will be discussing how to conduct a confidential job search, including how not to get noticed on LinkedIn!

Goal Setting and Planning

One of the most important things you can do after spending all this time reflecting on the year before is to take time to plan your career roadmap for the year ahead. Whether you want to change jobs — or careers — in the new year, or simply get more out of your current job, a career plan is essential to helping you reach your goals.

I’ll be sharing a career planner that will help you set goals (not New Year’s resolutions) and clarify your personal and professional aspirations.


This article originally appeared on AWAL!

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