As the middle of the year rushes closer, law firms are gearing up for performance reviews. In the current economic climate, the review period of 2012 will be an interesting one.
What to expect in 2012?
As a lawyer, performance reviews present the opportunity to discuss salary, workflow and in some cases, progression. Heading into a review, it is important to do your homework. Have a look at salary guides and market updates and inform yourself about the level of remuneration you should be receiving. EA International has salary bands listed within our local City Guides which should assist.
With the economy as it is, however, it is important to be realistic. While EA International does not expect salary freezes, expect any uplifts to be on the cautious side this year. For those looking for more financial reward, don’t despair! Firms in the Australian and New Zealand legal space are increasingly looking to bonuses as the preferred method to reward performance.
What if you don’t get what want?
If you are unhappy after your performance review, it is important to be proactive. Having taken on board the feedback from supervising partners, seek advice on where you stand in the market. One of our senior consultants will be happy to advise you on what you should be receiving for your level, alternatives in the market and any growth in your area of expertise.
One of the main concerns raised at this time of year is progression rates. There is a genuine feeling in the market that people are not progressing as fast as they had expected. The fact is, primarily as a result of the GFC, partnership tracks are no longer assured for high quality lawyers in large firms and bottlenecks are popping up in an increasing number of practice groups.
For those who have their eyes on the partnership track however, it is not all bad news. Positioning yourself early in a firm that is not as top heavy and has fast-track partnership options is a recommended option for mid level lawyers and junior Senior Associates. For lawyers in the top-tier, a common misconception is that if their firm is top heavy, all other top tier firms must be as well. This isn’t necessarily the case, and it is important to remember that bottlenecks often occur in specific groups within a firm, meaning that such problems are not universal.
In addition, within specific practice areas, new entrants to the market or boutique or mid-tier firms can have brilliant partnership opportunities while still providing top-tier level work. It is an often over-looked fact that some mid-tier and boutique groups operate in the high end of the market with prominent client and attendant financial rewards. When the top six view a mid/boutique firm as competition, you’re on the money!
If making such a move is on the cards for you, get in touch with one of our Senior Consultants on +61 2 9266 2900 as soon as possible for a confidential discussion about the legal market.
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