The Upwards Appraisal in favour of Trainee Solicitors

This post is a short one. Sorry.

This issue has bugged me for a long time – well at least since I originally started looking after trainee solicitors in the litigation teams that I managed.

I regularly appraised them and, as I oft repeated, the whole purpose of the training was to make sure that they came out the end of the process better than when they went it. I prided myself on making sure that I safely exposed them to as many areas of the litigation process as possible so that they could confidently run a case at the end of it, even if it was a small claims track case.

But at no stage were they asked to rate me. I remembering mentioning it to one of my trainees – the upwards appraisal – who was about to move on, and he said that it would be career suicide.

I think this is a fundamental mistake. There are many people who look after the career progression of trainees who would benefit enormously from some honest feedback on their lamentable people skills.

At the end of the day, every Trainee is a future partner for the firm or an ambassador if they decide to leave and surely it is important to make sure that the training process fulfills every conceivable angle.

Do you think this a sensible idea?

If not, how should the process be amended so that those supervising get the most out of the experience and also learn something?

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