Conducting informal performance management meetings—law firms
Produced in partnership with Beth Pipe of Bellis Learning Solutions Ltd
Conducting informal performance management meetings—law firms

The following Practice Management guidance note Produced in partnership with Beth Pipe of Bellis Learning Solutions Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Conducting informal performance management meetings—law firms
  • Structure
  • Feedback
  • Coaching
  • Agreeing an informal contract

Formal performance management meetings will normally require guidance from Human Resources (HR) as there are certain areas which must be covered when proceeding along a disciplinary route. However there are a number of steps a manager can take, including an informal performance management meeting, which can improve performance and avert the need for formal measures. Or, at least, ensure there is a record of the support offered should performance not improve.

This Practice Note covers:

  1. the structure of an informal performance management meeting

  2. giving appropriate feedback

  3. basic coaching skills, and

  4. agreeing an informal contract

For further guidance on additional steps and your responsibilities, see Practice Note: Working with under-performers—law firms.

Structure

There are two steps in an informal performance management meeting:

  1. establish the performance gap and the reasons behind the under-performance

  2. jointly agree ideas to eliminate the gap

Establish the gap and the reasons behind it

While there will be a requirement for the manager to give a certain amount of feedback (see Feedback below), the most powerful tool to use during the meeting is effective questioning. You may be very aware of the issues but it is important that the individual also recognises what the issues are and the reasons behind them.

For example, in a meeting addressing poor drafting skills, some questions you could consider asking to establish the performance gap and

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