Training, Evaluation, and Professional Development Information Reported in the NALP Directory of Legal Employers

NALP Bulletin, March 2012

The table below reports on training and evaluation as reported in the 2011-2012 NALP Directory of Legal Employers. Some of these practices vary by firm size, although not necessarily in a consistent pattern.

Overall, upward reviews are not the norm but are more typical of smaller firms, as is rotation for junior associates. Evaluations are typically annual, and about three-quarters of firms do not count training time toward billable hours. Of the almost 1,400 unique offices listing in the 2010-2011 Directory, the response rate to these items varied from about 81% to over 98%. The percentages shown in the table below are based on offices that reported on that item.

Overall, 90% of offices in the Directory indicated that they have a professional development staff, and, not surprisingly, the larger the firm, the more likely it is to have a professional development staff, with most, if not all firms of more than 250 lawyers reporting a PD staff.

These items were first included in the 2006-2007 Directory, and comparing these 2011 results with those from five years prior shows semi-annual reviews have become somewhat more common, at 32% of offices/firms in 2011 compared with about 28% in 2006. In contrast, upward reviews are less common across all firm sizes, except in firms of 50 or fewer lawyers. The overall figure of 29.5% in 2011 compares with 33% in 2006. Professional development staff persons have become more common at smaller firms. For example, in 2006 about 32% of firms of 50 or fewer lawyers reported professional development staff; in 2011 the figure was about 45%. Figures for firms of 51-100 were 58% and 71%, respectively. For complete compilations of these figures for prior years, see www.nalp.org/training_eval_pd.


Training and Evaluation as Reported by Firm for 2011 by Firm Size (number of lawyers)

Total FIRM SIZE — NUMBER OF LAWYERS
50 or Fewer 51-100 101-250 251-500 501-700 701+
Evaluation is: (1,375)
Annual 66.5% 72.3% 66.9% 64.7% 65.0% 62.0% 69.2%
Semi-annual 32.0 22.3 33.1 34.8 32.5 38.0 28.9
Other 1.5 5.3 0.0 0.5 2.5 0.0 1.9
Upward reviews? (1,208)
Yes 29.5 50.0 40.8 26.3 16.4 34.0 31.2
No 70.5 50.0 59.2 73.7 83.6 66.0 68.8
Professional development staff? (1,265)
Yes 90.1 44.6 71.0 77.6 95.7 100.0 100.0
No 9.9 55.4 29.0 22.4 4.3 0.0 0.0
Billable hours credit for training time? (1,158)
Yes 25.0 25.0 32.6 25.8 20.8 42.5 18.3
No 75.0 75.0 67.4 74.2 79.2 57.5 81.7
Rotation for junior associates? (1,127)
Yes 13.4 43.1 20.8 12.6 6.6 4.4 16.8
No 72.1 29.4 70.1 66.5 77.9 90.6 69.6
Case by case 14.5 27.5 9.1 20.9 15.5 5.0 13.6

Note: Not all offices/firms answered all of these items, and about 15 did not answer any of the items. The number responding to each item is shown in parentheses above. The item on mentoring is not shown above because 99% of offices responding to this item reported having a mentoring program. Source: 2011-2012 NALP Directory of Legal Employers. Excludes European and Asian offices of US firms.

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