Taking the Dread Out of Attorney Performance Reviews

Tim Lynch Featured in the Daily Record

March 25, 2019

The traditional annual performance review may be giving way to different feedback mechanisms, as some law firms move to systems that allow for more immediate and meaningful discussions about performance and goals.

While software programs can track performance appraisals, goal-setting and compensation, the trend to make performance management more personal is gaining steam – thanks, in large part, to millennials.

Hogan Lovells US LLP last year launched its Pathways program, a professional development system divorced from the compensation process. Pathways encourages supervisors to give quick, actionable feedback and encourages associates to ask for it, according to Allison Friend, Hogan Lovells’ chief human resources officer.

“We weren’t getting people the information they needed to grow as professionals in as real a time as we could and we wanted to make sure the information we are getting to our professionals was real and rich,” Friend said. “The whole purpose was to make sure that people are having conversations on their development throughout the year.”

Timothy C. Lynch, managing principal at Offit Kurman’s Baltimore office, said the firm prides itself on a performance management system that starts with “role clarity.”

With job descriptions for every role, attorneys know what is expected and can make plans for their development with supervisors, Lynch said.

Offit Kurman formerly used the traditional annual performance review model, which Lynch called “sterile and unhelpful.”

“Times change and you’d better change with them,” he said of the switch to a new performance assessment model.

Lynch said the millennial generation has made law firms rethink a lot of their feedback and review structures.

However, he said, it is not just younger attorneys who prompted – and appreciate — the trend toward a new performance model.

“We find that people want to work and they want to do a good job, and they want to know when they’ve done a good job; they want positive feedback and they also want to hear constructive feedback, and they don’t want to hear it nine months later,” he said.

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ABOUT TIM LYNCH | 410.209.6436

Mr. Lynch is the Managing Partner of Offit Kurman. He also sits on the firm’s Executive Committee. As such, he is responsible for all of the lawyer operations at the firm and he is heavily involved in the daily operations and strategic planning for the firm. Before moving into these roles, he chaired the Commercial Litigation Practice group at the firm. He has a national practice that focuses acting as general counsel and special litigation counsel for many entrepreneurs as well as owner-managed businesses and their owners in a wide array of industries. In that regard, he regularly advises clients on strategic, growth and corporate issues. He also regularly advises financial institutions and key employees on employment and regulatory issues.



Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the mid-Atlantic region. With over 185 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well positioned to meet the needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. Our twelve offices serve individual and corporate clients along the I95 corridor in the Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City regions. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ confidence by remaining focused on furthering their objectives and achieving their goals in an efficient manner. Trust, knowledge, confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.

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