Communication and Feedback
Communication and feedback are the linchpins of attorney development and a cohesive workplace. We encourage communication through a range of formal and informal avenues.
Associate and Counsel Advisory Committee (ACAC)Our Associate and Counsel Advisory Committee ("ACAC") is a group of associates and counsel from across the firm who serve as the collective voice of their peers to firm leadership. With the ACAC, we peel back the curtain on leadership decisions and strategy for their input and guidance; we also count on the ACAC to collaborate with us in finding innovative solutions to workplace challenges. They maintain an open-door policy and meet with colleagues regularly to understand the issues at play. Each office also has its own local ACAC that coordinates with the associates and counsel in their respective offices.
Attorney Evaluation System (AES)The Attorney Evaluation System takes place yearly and involves local and firmwide review of each associate and counsel's work, based on the Firm's core competencies and values.
What does it mean to practice law at the highest level? How do new lawyers achieve that goal and continue achieving it as they progress in their career? We developed a roadmap for our associates and counsel called "core competencies" to answer those questions. Core competencies are the general knowledge, skills, behaviors, and aptitudes that an associate or counsel should aspire to at different stages in his or her career at O'Melveny. These competencies are based on the Firm's values and form the basis for performance evaluations. The competencies provide concrete examples to provide a tangible idea of “what success looks like” at a given level, and outline targeted goals regarding legal skills, client interaction, citizenship, community involvement, and contributions to the Firm. Associates and counsel are encouraged to use the competencies as a career development tool and guide, as well as a basis for completing annual self-evaluations.
Evaluation and Compensation
We aspire to give feedback in the moment, but we also recognize the importance of reflection on a body of work over the course of a year. Great care is taken to ensure our annual evaluation and compensation process measures the full contributions of each lawyer and reflects and promotes the values of our professional partnership—excellence, leadership, and citizenship.
Our process for evaluating and determining compensation for associates and counsel includes self-evaluations, individual partner and counsel solicitations, office and practice group reviews, and an individualized review by the Associate and Counsel Review Committee (“ACRC”). The ACRC ensures that associates and counsel are evaluated based on their contributions to excellence, leadership and citizenship, and with consistent standards across the entire Firm. We aim to compensate all of our associates and counsel in line with their individual contributions and at a level comparable to compensation by peer firms.
The evaluation process offers the opportunity to review performance expectations and goals, to discuss professional development opportunities, and to identify opportunities for career growth. Each associate and counsel is encouraged to complete a self-evaluation that becomes the foundation for soliciting feedback from lawyers with whom they have worked during the past year. Every lawyer receives a formal written evaluation based on the solicited comprehensive feedback, as well as a face-to-face meeting with their reviewers to recognize outstanding achievement, to provide specific recommendations for professional growth, and to target specific areas for improvement where needed.
Upward ReviewsThe upward review program enables every associate and counsel to provide anonymous reviews for every partner and counsel with whom they have worked during the past year. The resulting reviews are rich and nuanced, thanks in part to our process of collecting feedback from associates and counsel globally through in-person interviews with an external consultant. The reviews provide a vehicle for recognizing those partners and counsel who have contributed to the professional growth of their teams, as well as identifying any supervisory patterns that can be improved. The results of the upward reviews are also taken into account in partnership admission and compensation decisions.