For many attorneys, it quickly becomes apparent that after your first two years as a practicing lawyer, you are not going to get the same level of feedback on your work product and developing skills that you did in law school or during your first year as an attorney. As a newly practicing or junior attorney, this can be particularly challenging to navigate. One common refrain that you may hear is senior attorneys telling you, “Do not worry, you will hear about it if you are not doing good work.” However, there is a large gulf between bad work and outstanding work, and I would venture to say that most of us did not dedicate significant time, effort and financial resources to become mediocre or merely acceptable lawyers. As feedback becomes sparser, it is critical to keep track of all notable achievements you accomplished throughout each year in preparation for annual or semi-annual reviews.

As a profession, attorneys should strive to provide thoughtful feedback to junior colleagues on a more regular basis. In my own career, I have been lucky to work with attorneys at all levels who regularly provided feedback, expressed appreciation for hard work and made sure to share credit when presenting work products to senior associates and partners. Receiving regular feedback was tremendously encouraging and helped to foster a sense of teamwork with my colleagues and bolster our dedication to the firm. There are few things that can be quite as professionally disheartening to junior and midlevel associates as working extremely hard on what you believe to be an excellent work product and receiving as feedback only a “looks fine” email. Ultimately, I believe that honest and regular feedback (whether a person’s work product is exemplary, needs improvement, or a bit of both) drives better performance.