Training, Evaluation, and Professional Development -- 2009

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

NALP Bulletin, May 2010

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 almost 1,700 unique offices listing in the 2009-2010 Directory, the response rate to these items varied from about 82% to 98%. The percentages shown in the table below are based on offices that reported on that item.

Overall, 87% 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 2009
By Firm Size (Number of Lawyers)

  Total 50 or fewer 51-100 101-250 251-500 501-700 701+
Evaluation is:
Annual 65.5% 66.7% 65.3% 61.2% 71.2% 52.6% 68.4%
Semi-annual 32.1 20.0 31.3 34.8 28.8 47.4 30.0
Other 2.4 11.3 3.3 4.0 0.0 0.0 1.6
Upward reviews?
Yes 32.0 44.6 45.5 28.2 22.6 34.9 33.8
No 68.0 55.4 54.5 71.8 77.4 65.1 66.2
Professional Development Staff?
Yes 87.5 39.2 61.9 79.0 89.7 100.0 100.0
No 12.5 60.8 38.1 21.0 10.3 0.0 0.0
Billable hours credit for training time?
Yes 24.4 33.3 33.7 20.8 26.7 25.5 21.0
No 75.6 66.7 66.3 79.2 73.3 74.5 79.0
Rotation for junior associates?
Yes 15.8 49.3 27.1 16.8 10.2 8.4 13.8
No 71.9 33.3 57.9 65.1 79.0 82.5 76.3
Case by case 12.3 17.4 15.0 18.1 10.8 9.1 9.9

Note: Not all offices/firms answered all of these items, and about 20 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: 2009-2010 NALP Directory of Legal Employers. Includes firms in Canada but not in Europe or Asia.

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