Last night I joined one of my long standing accountancy clients – haysmacintyre – when they hosted an informal dinner at the Institute of Directors for managing partners of small and medium sized law firms with speaker Phil Gott ( talking on the subject of partner appraisals.

It was a fascinating discussion and I regret that for confidentiality reasons I cannot disclose either the attendees nor the specific topics discussed but one of the interesting points I noticed was how many relatively small firms, over such a short period of time, have embraced the concept of hiring professional managers to assist with practice management, marketing and human resources.

I was also tremendously encouraged to learn that most firms do appraise the performance of their partners – and some even see it as a really valuable development tool. Mind you, exactly how you assess the effectiveness of a partner in the areas of marketing, selling and client relationship management remains a bit of a black art!