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Lawyer123134

Negotiating Articling Salary

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What would you do if you were offered an articling position for $14/hr (minimum wage)? Honestly, I feel like its just insulting.  At the same time, there are very few articling positions out there at this point in the year.

My only other option I feel is to negotiate the salary. How would you go about doing this? (If anyone has done this and can provide their experience/tips, I would appreciate it).

Thank you!

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Are they covering your bar admission fees?  If the market for articling students are saturated in your area, you probably don't have much power to negotiate.

I would at least ask about the bar admission fees.

I would also consider the kind of experience you'll gain in the position.  If the firm runs a relatively good practice in the area of your interest perhaps it will be worthwhile. 

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No, they are not covering my bar fees. I literally received an offer for articling that simply outlined the salary and hours per week. It's in Mississauga or GTA (Greater Toronto Area) so that market is pretty saturated. 

It's good experience at a small firm, but I guess at this point since I have the offer, I wanted to at least try negotiating. Furthermore, I am not sure with additional things that would be part of an articling contract that I could ask about (benefits, sicks days, etc). 

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Try asking the recruiter if there’s room for negotiation. If they budge, then you can try your luck with setting some higher expectations. 

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Thanks guys! If anyone has knowledge about specifics in salary negotiation, please let me know! Much appreciated!

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Having worked in the corporate world and been involved in hiring staff and negotiating pay, most important is understanding that what you are worth and what you are going to be paid are different.

If you start negotiating, you MUST accept the risk of losing the offer or potentially accepting the $14/hr. If you do not want to accept the risk of losing this position... well there's your answer.

Your goal in a successful negotiation is to bring what you are paid as close to what you are worth without costing the company money. Ex. Company 'A' bills out $300/hr to clients, this is the market rate or what you are worth. Let's say that 1/3 of that is profit, so $100. Now as an articling student at their firm, how much of that $100/hr profit do you feel you deserve and how much does the company/partners deserve. If you are brilliant, brought in clients, and are a rainmaker you can demand more, if not I'd be wary in overstepping.

If it was me (do so at your own risk) I would send an email and politely ask: "... Thank you for your offer ... I was hoping you would be open to setting up a meeting sometime this week to discuss the offer, I look forward to being a part of the 'A' family. X time and Y time are potential times that I am available but will work around your schedule."

At the meeting, be confident you already nailed the interview and have the job locked in. Understand this is NO longer an interview this is a MEETING to discuss your salary. Make some light banter with the manager/partner and then segway into:


"I'm very excited to begin working a 'A', and was hoping we would be able to discuss the compensation package. I wanted to know if it was negotiable and how that number was arrived at.

" Manager will blah blah blah, reply with "Thank you for explaining, I understand completely if you are unable, but is there the potential of starting at $XX/hr or $XXXX/week, I also wanted to mention that regardless of pay I will work to the best or my ability and excel in my position, but want to also receive what I perceive as a more reasonable compensation."

"BLAH BLAH BLAH"

"Is there the potential to have Bar fee's etc covered, yaddy ya."

Keep us posted. Good luck, don't blow it.

 

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1 hour ago, Lawby said:

most important is understanding that what you are worth and what you are going to be paid are different.

Definitely this, since often articling students cost firms money, especially in the beginning, yet they still pay them.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Lawby said:

Having worked in the corporate world and been involved in hiring staff and negotiating pay, most important is understanding that what you are worth and what you are going to be paid are different.

If you start negotiating, you MUST accept the risk of losing the offer or potentially accepting the $14/hr. If you do not want to accept the risk of losing this position... well there's your answer.

Your goal in a successful negotiation is to bring what you are paid as close to what you are worth without costing the company money. Ex. Company 'A' bills out $300/hr to clients, this is the market rate or what you are worth. Let's say that 1/3 of that is profit, so $100. Now as an articling student at their firm, how much of that $100/hr profit do you feel you deserve and how much does the company/partners deserve. If you are brilliant, brought in clients, and are a rainmaker you can demand more, if not I'd be wary in overstepping.

If it was me (do so at your own risk) I would send an email and politely ask: "... Thank you for your offer ... I was hoping you would be open to setting up a meeting sometime this week to discuss the offer, I look forward to being a part of the 'A' family. X time and Y time are potential times that I am available but will work around your schedule."

At the meeting, be confident you already nailed the interview and have the job locked in. Understand this is NO longer an interview this is a MEETING to discuss your salary. Make some light banter with the manager/partner and then segway into:


"I'm very excited to begin working a 'A', and was hoping we would be able to discuss the compensation package. I wanted to know if it was negotiable and how that number was arrived at.

" Manager will blah blah blah, reply with "Thank you for explaining, I understand completely if you are unable, but is there the potential of starting at $XX/hr or $XXXX/week, I also wanted to mention that regardless of pay I will work to the best or my ability and excel in my position, but want to also receive what I perceive as a more reasonable compensation."

"BLAH BLAH BLAH"

"Is there the potential to have Bar fee's etc covered, yaddy ya."

Keep us posted. Good luck, don't blow it.

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to post this, I really appreciate it. The only thing is that I am still in school in Ottawa so negotiation will either be through email or phone. Either way, I will follow the script you have provided, but I wouldn't want to lose the offer at the same time. I guess I could just go with asking if the salary is negotiable at all? I will definitely keep you guys posted, and I will try not to blow it :P

Edited by Lawyer123134

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7 hours ago, Lawby said:

Having worked in the corporate world and been involved in hiring staff and negotiating pay, most important is understanding that what you are worth and what you are going to be paid are different.

If you start negotiating, you MUST accept the risk of losing the offer or potentially accepting the $14/hr. If you do not want to accept the risk of losing this position... well there's your answer.

Your goal in a successful negotiation is to bring what you are paid as close to what you are worth without costing the company money. Ex. Company 'A' bills out $300/hr to clients, this is the market rate or what you are worth. Let's say that 1/3 of that is profit, so $100. Now as an articling student at their firm, how much of that $100/hr profit do you feel you deserve and how much does the company/partners deserve. If you are brilliant, brought in clients, and are a rainmaker you can demand more, if not I'd be wary in overstepping.

If it was me (do so at your own risk) I would send an email and politely ask: "... Thank you for your offer ... I was hoping you would be open to setting up a meeting sometime this week to discuss the offer, I look forward to being a part of the 'A' family. X time and Y time are potential times that I am available but will work around your schedule."

At the meeting, be confident you already nailed the interview and have the job locked in. Understand this is NO longer an interview this is a MEETING to discuss your salary. Make some light banter with the manager/partner and then segway into:


"I'm very excited to begin working a 'A', and was hoping we would be able to discuss the compensation package. I wanted to know if it was negotiable and how that number was arrived at.

" Manager will blah blah blah, reply with "Thank you for explaining, I understand completely if you are unable, but is there the potential of starting at $XX/hr or $XXXX/week, I also wanted to mention that regardless of pay I will work to the best or my ability and excel in my position, but want to also receive what I perceive as a more reasonable compensation."

"BLAH BLAH BLAH"

"Is there the potential to have Bar fee's etc covered, yaddy ya."

Keep us posted. Good luck, don't blow it.

 

Well the thing is articling students aren’t worth much and you need the job a lot more than we need you. I am sure there are no shortage of people who would jump at a paid articling position for minimum wage in the GTA.

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12 hours ago, providence said:

Well the thing is articling students aren’t worth much and you need the job a lot more than we need you. I am sure there are no shortage of people who would jump at a paid articling position for minimum wage in the GTA.

So do you think the risk of losing the offer is greater?

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It is very unlikely that an attempt at negotiating your compensation will result in a lawyer telling you to screw off and they don't want to hire you anymore. Not impossible, given some of the personalities in the profession, but very unlikely. 

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23 minutes ago, leafs_law said:

It is very unlikely that an attempt at negotiating your compensation will result in a lawyer telling you to screw off and they don't want to hire you anymore. Not impossible, given some of the personalities in the profession, but very unlikely. 

I wouldn’t tell the person to screw off and we don’t pay minimum wage, but if someone tried to renegotiate their salary, I’d politely tell them that that’s the maximum we can do, and if they still chose to come, I’d feel bad that they weren’t happy and wonder if they really want to be here.

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4 minutes ago, providence said:

I wouldn’t tell the person to screw off and we don’t pay minimum wage, but if someone tried to renegotiate their salary, I’d politely tell them that that’s the maximum we can do, and if they still chose to come, I’d feel bad that they weren’t happy and wonder if they really want to be here.

Thank you for your perspective, very helpful!

I want to at least ask if the salary is negotiable, not because I don't want to be there, but because my law school career adviser pulled up the Robert Half Salary Guide 2018, which indicates that the minimum salary for an articling student is more than minimum wage. But again, I don't want to lose the offer either, and it just sucks that we invest about $80,000 to acquire legal education, only to enter the workforce and be paid the same as a cashier at McDonald's. It's a bit disheartening. 

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Your arc for an increase in pay is significantly steeper than McDonalds. Think long term. 

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I also wonder if you could ask to have a percentage of the billings for any business that you legitimately bring in. If I had my own shop and couldn't afford to pay more than minimum wage, I would think, to some extent, BD would be a factor. 

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3 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

Your arc for an increase in pay is significantly steeper than McDonalds. Think long term. 

Could you elaborate?

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Okay, look. I won't tell you how or if you should try to negotiate what you are paid. But you have got to stop thinking about your pay as some kind of abstract question of "what am I, and my law degree, worth?" It isn't that, and it never will be. 

Look at who you are actually proposing to work for. Think about what they are (potentially) paying you to do. And remember that even at minimum wage they'll be taking thousands of dollars out of their pocket every month just for the privilege of having you around. It may be having you there helps them earn more, additionally, than you cost. That's not terribly likely. It may even be the opposite and you are costing them money. So ask yourself - how likely are they to offer you more?

What makes me think you haven't even considered this is that you've failed to mention practice area, profile, or anything in connection with your question. A small, specialized boutique doing Intellectual Property can and probably should be paying you far better than you quote. But if it's a small practice doing a lot of legal aid work in family law, immigration, criminal defence, etc ... what the hell do you expect? There are five and ten year calls doing this work taking home $80k in a good year. And if you're articling for a lawyer in a situation like that, telling them you want them to take $10k more out of their own pocket and put it in yours, well, that won't get you far. 

So, bottom line, be conscious of the economics of the area of law in which you propose to article. If you don't want to do that kind of work, look for what you do want to do. But don't kid yourself. Your legal education doesn't have an objective value on the market. It's only worth what you can make it worth to an employer and/or to your clients in the future. And no one gives a shit what your classmates are making on Bay Street. 

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1 hour ago, Lawyer123134 said:

Thank you for your perspective, very helpful!

I want to at least ask if the salary is negotiable, not because I don't want to be there, but because my law school career adviser pulled up the Robert Half Salary Guide 2018, which indicates that the minimum salary for an articling student is more than minimum wage. But again, I don't want to lose the offer either, and it just sucks that we invest about $80,000 to acquire legal education, only to enter the workforce and be paid the same as a cashier at McDonald's. It's a bit disheartening. 

For one year. Possibly at considerable expense to your principal. Which literally gives you the ticket to become an entrepreneur and make unlimited income after that. 

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Can I just chime in to say that I'm blown away anyone could possibly be "insulted" by being offered a job...? Whatever you think of your own talents and amazingness, you are just about to start your career at the very bottom rung. Maybe you need to readjust your expectations and attitudes. If this offer is insulting, it must be because you are a star candidate with half a dozen other better offers on the table. So what's the problem? Just go with one of those. 

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3 minutes ago, ericontario said:

Can I just chime in to say that I'm blown away anyone could possibly be "insulted" by being offered a job...? Whatever you think of your own talents and amazingness, you are just about to start your career at the very bottom rung. Maybe you need to readjust your expectations and attitudes. If this offer is insulting, it must be because you are a star candidate with half a dozen other better offers on the table. So what's the problem? Just go with one of those. 

I don't recall ever saying I was insulted by being offered a job; in fact I was very delighted for the offer. I am just take aback that we invest about $80,000 into our legal educations only to be at the same wage as a job we got while in high school. However, many people make good points about considering who you are working for and what the practice is, and I appreciate all of the helpful advice. I was just curious as to how often people negotiated salaries and the specifics of how you would go about negotiating. That's why I made a thread in the first place...to inquire and learn. I actually did interview for another firm, which went very well but they are in the early stages of interviews, so I also have to decide whether to accept this position or risk it and wait for the other. Decisions, decisions. 

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