Training, Evaluation, and Professional Development -- 2008
Training, Evaluation, and Professional Development
Findings from the NALP Directory of Legal Employers


NALP Bulletin, April 2009

The table below reports on the training and evaluation items that have been included in the NALP Directory of Legal Employers since 2006. 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 more than 1,600 unique offices listing the in the 2008-2009 Directory, the response rate to these items varied from about 79% to 98%. The percentages shown in the table below are based on offices that reported on that item.

Overall, 85% 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.

Training and Evaluation as Reported by Firms for 2008
By Firm Size (Number of Lawyers)

  Total 50 or fewer 51-100 101-250 251-500 501-700 701+
Evaluation is: (1,600)
Annual 68.9% 74.2% 70.4% 64.6% 62.1% 76.6% 72.1%
Semi-annual 29.1 17.5 25.7 34.5 35.7 23.4 26.5
Other 2.0 8.3 3.8 0.9 2.2 0.0 1.4
Upward reviews? (1,390)
Yes 31.9 44.6 39.3 25.2 28.2 31.0 35.1
No 68.1 55.4 60.7 74.8 71.8 69.0 64.9
Professional Development Staff? (1,460)
Yes 85.4 42.7 60.5 69.7 91.4 100.0 99.8
No 14.6 57.3 39.5 30.3 8.6 0.0 0.2
Billable hours credit for training time? (1,314)
Yes 25.3 30.6 35.2 18.8 30.1 24.5 22.2
No 74.7 69.4 64.8 81.2 69.9 75.5 77.8
Rotation for junior associates? (1,291)
Yes 16.0 46.8 21.1 23.3 7.8 9.2 13.7
No 70.4 33.9 57.8 62.5 76.2 79.9 76.6
Case by case 13.6 19.3 21.1 14.2 16.0 10.9 9.7
Note: Not all offices/firms answered all of these items, and about 27 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: 2008-2009 NALP Directory of Legal Employers. Includes firms in Canada but not in Europe or Asia.
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