How to Professionally Receive Feedback

As law students or new attorneys, you are no stranger to feedback. You receive it from professors, employers, judges and clients. On an internal level, we all react differently to feedback. It is important, however, that you handle it in a professional manner. Here are some suggestions for inviting and receiving feedback:

1) If you are not receiving feedback on your work performance, you should ask for it. Many employers offer performance reviews, but some may not. You should be eager to hear about ways in which you can improve your work or areas in which you are excelling. If you are asked to improve upon certain elements of your job, you should take steps to show your employer that you have heard his or her requests and provide examples of the ways in which you are implementing them. Employers like to know that they are heard and appreciate the effort you make to improve your performance.

2) Do not lash out at someone who gives you feedback. It may be jarring to see red pen all over your carefully crafted brief, but the only way to learn and improve is through feedback. Instead, take a few deep breaths or a short walk to clear your head and revisit your work in an objective way. With a clear head, you will produce better work and will be a more successful employee.

3) Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions about the feedback you are given if you do not understand it. Do not get defensive; simply view it as an opportunity to learn more. Before you ask questions, however, try to find the answers yourself. Employers like when their employees take the initiative to solve problems and find answers on their own. If you are still unclear, let your employer know that you performed research and you have some follow up questions.

4) Consider finding a mentor at your current place of employment. Mentors can give you great advice on how to implement feedback or improve going forward.