Monthly Archives: October 2007

Are you using a 360 degree view to appraise partner or fee earner performance?

It may not be right for every firm, but getting direct feedback from a variety of people within the practice whose views and opinions are trusted by the person being appraised (perhaps even including clients) can provide powerful feedback to help everyone in a practice understand how best to develop their skills.  This descriptive chart can help people understand what can be learned from going through a 360 degree feedback style exercise as part of the business development process.   Self assessment and feedback on areas that are agreed to be critical to the performance of the business can help fill in (for example) a fee earner’s understanding of where they can improve their own performance and that of other people around them; but this need not just be for fee earners.  Those areas might include aspects of:

  • Team skills
  • People management
  • Communication skills
  • Client orientation
  • Results orientation
  • Professional competence
  • Problem solving and adaptability

© Alan Chapman 2003 and see  

To introduce these kinds of evaluations effectively, there are some key steps to take you should take, such as:

  1. Involve the people taking part in assessment in the development of questionnaires;
  2. Get their input on who should provide the feedback to them;
  3. Ensure the core values being evaluated are agreed;
  4. Perhaps use online questionnaires to make taking part and compilation of results easier;
  5. Run a pilot with some of the enthusiasts;
  6. Make sure that results are communicated to the right people;
  7. Agree an approach to confidentiality.

Any other thoughts from firms who have done this or something similar, or are considering doing it?

Internet Usage in the UK – 2007

This has to be the best current information available on use of the Internet in Britain with 83 pages of useful statistics and evaluation comparing usage and attitudes now with 2 and 4 years ago.  The report is produced by the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University, based on research with over 2000 people and comparing results now with previous research in 2005 and 2003.

It makes very interesting reading with confirmation that:

  • 66% of households now have Internet access;
  • 67% of people use the Internet;
  • 56% of all users have quickly taken up broadband access confirm

.. and a lot more detailed information beyond this.  It shows how important it is for lawyers to understand how the public’s usage and attitudes on online information and services are developing, so that they can tap into the opportunities here.