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does your firm put the onus on you to submit self-assessments on like all your matters before end of year reviews?

I feel like this is a large time commitment expected of me when I could be billing my time productively, and is unlikely to be glanced at by the supervising attorneys.

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Yes. It’s a huge time drag but don’t take it lightly. It’s your chance to highlight what you thought you did well and really sell yourself.

likehelpful

seems like it!

Agree with this is more helpful and important than you think. You can look at it as interviewing for a job you “already have”, but it’s really about interviewing you about your “next job” in the sense of now you’ll be a midlevel instead of a junior, etc., can you sell to the firm that you’re capable of that step up? You can’t take for granted that you get to keep a job that pays $200k+/$300k+ just based on having done it previously at a more junior level. You have to be improving everyday, and you have to be able to sell and prove that. There is zero resting on your laurels in the law, the partners have to sell to clients constantly, that is the only way to be successful in this business. Clients also are constantly selling to their own clients. Associates need to start operating the same way, even at junior levels, if they want to be successful.

Also can’t speak to your firm, but at my former firm, self evaluations were taken seriously and reviewed closely.

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Should add to this, while I’m talking about selling - it is really about helping you. E.g., partners who worked with you on your matters may have a general positive impression of you, but they may not realize all the work you did behind the scenes, especially work you did for other partners or non billable work. Maybe you did supervised 10 local counsel on that giant portfolio deal and the partner barely was involved. Maybe you did a lot of training of juniors officially and unofficially. Maybe you’ve developed expertise in a particular subfield. Maybe you helped prepare/present a CLE or some other non billable project. Here is your chance to sell everything awesome about yourself in one place and make sure partners have a better understanding of everything you do, so that in a few years when you’re up for partner, or trying to get partner support for an in house position with one of their clients, they have your back. If/when the firm is going through a hard time, if you’ve firmly sold yourself as a top associate in every years evals, it’s going to be easier for them to justify keeping you over your colleagues.

And if nothing else, it literally is a self eval - take this chance to look at how you did versus the previous year and what your own goals are (e.g., grow your substantive skills in x area, write an article in y area) and then next year revisit and see how you did again. It’ll also help when eventually/inevitably you are looking for your next job and need to sell yourself for real.

I do get that it sucks and is a time sink when you’re busy with other stuff ! But I think viewing it negatively is missing the forest for the trees.

likehelpful

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