Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Equity – Performance Anxiety: How to Survive Evaluation Season

Dec 20, 2021 | The Practical Lawyer

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Equity - Performance Anxiety: How to Survive Evaluation Season

Performance reviews are like visiting the dentist: You have to endure them with some regularity. They are usually riddled with anxiety and can be slightly painful. In the end, you are glad that you went, while simultaneously relieved that you don’t have to go back anytime soon. While the vast majority of people—from management to the evaluators to the evaluatees—loathe the process of performance reviews, research suggests that evaluations are still the best tool for providing meaningful, transparent, and ideally equitable feedback to attorneys.1 Employers will always judge their employees. Assuming you do not want your success to be determined in secrecy behind closed doors, evaluations at least provide an opportunity for open feedback and comparison.

Unfortunately, you cannot take the edge off of evaluation season with a little Novocain or laughing gas. This article will delve into some more palatable recommendations for easing the pain of performance reviews, such as:

  • How to elevate one’s self-evaluation;
  • Providing employees with meaningful constructive criticism while minimizing bias;
  • Cultivating the proper mindset for a constructive performance review meeting; and
  • Flourishing with all of that newfound feedback.


Brevity, solid organization, and shameless self-promotion are the cornerstones of a top-notch self-evaluation. Consider the self-evaluation an opportunity to showcase not just what you have accomplished over the last year, but also your organizational and drafting abilities. It is challenging to succinctly summarize an entire year’s worth of work in one or two pages. Dividing it into bite-sized segments with easy-to-follow headings will allow the reader to scan the document to find what they need and easily absorb the highlights. Just as writing styles are subjective, so too are the desires of those reviewing evaluations. Do not be afraid to ask to see examples of what the evaluators consider to be exemplary self-evaluations.

The Practical Lawyer

The Practical Lawyer

CLICK HERE to read the full article, which was originally published in ALI CLE’s The Practical Lawyer. 

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