Business Development Career Goals Planning

“O” is for why this is going to be an “outstanding” associate evaluation season!

Written by Paulette Pommells

It’s that time of year again…when law firms prepare to let associates know that the good things they’ve been doing have been noticed, and on the flip side, what needs to be tweaked.

Where does that leave the associate in this whole process? The short answer: with a lot of responsibility. And yet, many associates dedicate a bare minimum amount of time to completing the requisite written reports and/or preparing for the evaluation meeting.

My goal is to help associates be more business-minded throughout this evaluation season. Many professional development officers tell me that associates can afford to have a better understanding of how their firm operates. If you’re in a small firm, this need is that much more punctuated. A recent study cites “new client business” as the biggest challenge.

More than that, I want associates to be careerpreneurs: taking charge of their own career development.

With these themes in mind, here are a few topics to expect from me in the coming months:

Salary Negotiation

Negotiating an initial salary can be stressful, and it doesn’t get any easier once you have the job and want a raise. I’ll be sharing tips on when to (and when not to) time your request for a raise and what supporting documents to prepare. You can also join my colleagues and I on November 8th for a discussion on Negotiation and Influence.

Self-Assessment and Accomplishments

It’s better to have a sense ahead of time what feedback you are going to receive. To do that, you need to spend some time reflecting on the work you did this year and what you could have done differently.

Many of my clients prefer a self-enhancement approach to their feedback, which is why I developed a guide that uses accomplishments as a basis for reflection: The Associate’s Guide to Creating a Portfolio of Accomplishments

Career Changes

Sometimes reflecting on your job causes you to question whether it’s even right for you (any longer). I’ve already discussed the internal and external reasons How to Know If It’s Time To Change Practice Areas or My Job.

If it turns out that you are serious about looking for a new job, I will be discussing how to conduct a confidential job search, including how not to get noticed on LinkedIn!

Goal Setting and Planning

One of the most important things you can do after spending all this time reflecting on 2016 is to take time to plan your career roadmap for 2017. Whether you want to change jobs — or careers — in the new year, or simply get more out of your current job, a career plan is essential to helping you reach your goals.

I’ll be sharing a career planner that will help you set goals (not New Year’s resolutions) and clarify your personal and professional aspirations.

How will you make this evaluation season outstanding? 

About the author

Paulette Pommells

I am a certified coach with a creative approach to bring out the best of the 21st Century Lawyer! A 21st Century Lawyer myself, I was faced with a professional dilemma years ago: I had become a “successful” lawyer, and yet something didn't feel right. One day, I hired a career coach and realized how similar coaching is to the legal strategy process. I decided to share this breakthrough with every single lawyer. Today, Creative Choices™ is a sought-after technique by lawyers, law students and law firms when it comes to professional challenges of all kinds. You can learn more about this on my website or by emailing me at

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