Appraisals can be a particularly controversial topic for trainees. Some teams may be known for giving generally higher scores than others; different appraisers may interpret comments from members of their team in different ways; failing to impressive the wrong person can result in feedback that overshadows the positive feedback given by others; mistakes made closer to the time when an associate provides feedback may be remembered more clearly than mistakes made at the start of your seat. The list goes on. This isn’t necessarily fair, and some firms have better, more objective appraisal systems than others, but it is worth bearing this in mind.
Sometimes more junior employees can be far more critical than senior employees, or some appraisers may include negative feedback purely because they feel they cannot leave the “development points” section of the feedback form empty. “Attention to detail needs improvement” is frequently banded around, but rarely with much detail or justification. It’s difficult to dispute, so easy for supervisors to include. Especially if you do not receive their feedback directly (instead receiving a summary of the feedback from a partner).