Being appraised by your supervisor can feel daunting, but it’s a great opportunity to learn from previous experience and increase your professional development with the aim of becoming an effective lawyer. 

Trainee Solicitor Thomas Fardon has three golden rules to help you to get the most from your appraisal.

At Gateley all trainees have a ‘Mid Seat’ and ‘End of Seat’ review, which involves their time in a specific department being assessed and reviewed. This process allows a full and frank assessment of their performance and offers a real insight into what they’re doing well, as well as areas that they can improve on.

  1. Honesty – it’s the best policy

An appraisal is your opportunity to reflect upon your time in a department. It is also the perfect opportunity to discuss any elements or aspects of work that you haven’t yet had exposure to, but would like to.

In each case, it’s important and beneficial to both you and your supervisor to be honest, as this will assist with your development as a trainee and ensure you gain the most from each seat and department that you work in.

Every review will involve discussing what you have done well and what you can improve on – after all, nobody is perfect. One of the most important things to remember is that any criticism you receive is intended to improve your skills as a trainee.

Don’t be afraid to highlight things you think you have done well too – when you start writing everything down, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how much you have achieved in three months!

  1. Preparation – failing to prepare is preparing to fail

It may seem like an obvious point, but make sure you are fully prepared for your review. The opportunity to discuss your time in the department and establish areas of improvement does not come along often, so don’t let this chance pass you by.

Walk into the review with a good idea of the areas of your work that you have progressed well in, alongside the areas that you want to improve on. From that you should be able to formulate a set of targets for the next three months, either in the same department or a new one.

  1. Listen – big egos have little ears

The final point is to take on board what is said, so that you can work towards accomplishing the targets agreed with your supervisor. It is so important to learn from the assessment of your time in the department and that comes by listening carefully. You will not progress in your journey towards becoming a solicitor unless you listen to the advice given.

Don’t forget that there is a reason behind a review – to develop and to improve. Everyone goes through the same process, so use it to your advantage to become a better trainee.

For more information, please contact:

Trainee Solicitor Thomas Fardon

T: 0121 212 7724


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This blog is intended only as a synopsis of certain recent developments. If any matter referred to in this blog is sought to be relied upon, further advice should be obtained.