Legal Business Blogs

Hogan Lovells pilots radical associate assessment programme

Hogan Lovells is piloting a new model of reviewing associates, dropping formal annual reviews in favour of a programme of continuous feedback.

The new system, called Pathways, will assess performance in quick sessions with partners, as opposed to lengthy annual reviews. The firm rolled out the scheme at the start of this year, across 500 of its 1,800 associates.

The move will see the firm also drop annual appraisal grades, which Hogan Lovells UK and Africa managing partner Susan Bright (pictured) said were ‘distracting’. Instead, associates will have quarterly briefs where they will have to seek out three pieces of feedback on different matters, as well as a less formal, yearly conversation.

Bright added: ‘We are trying to embed a culture of continuous feedback and we want it to be more consistent around the world. This forward-looking process chimes with the expectations of younger people coming into the profession, they want to know how to do things even better next time.’

One Hogan Lovells partner said: ‘Senior associates seem to like it; we asked them beforehand and they said they liked the principle. I’ve spoken to people on the pilot and they feel it’s a good, progressive way to look at development.’

Hogan Lovells global head of diversity, inclusion and wellbeing Alison Unsted said: ‘We put a lot of effort on development programmes. It is about the broader aspects of being a lawyer and is a real plus in our firm.’

The move comes as Allen & Overy confirmed last week it has been running a performance pilot scheme for the last six months, dropping traditional annual appraisals in a new approach to performance management.

The pilot scheme, focused on feedback and dialogue as tools to strengthen development and performance, has been running since October 2016 and currently involves 500 fee-earners and business staff across several practice groups and support functions in London, Singapore and the Middle East.

Read more: ‘Hogan Lovells’ marriage has settled down but can the union blossom into global power couple?’