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Mycousinsteve

Salary Negotiation Tips

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1 hour ago, leafs_law said:

I am humbled. I have never even thought about what goes on in the contingency fee world in terms of effects on advancement and compensation.

Admittedly, I’ve always been on Bay and while I do take notice when opposing counsel is on a contingency agreement, i only do so where that gives me some insight on their motivations for litigation strategy.

Though, if I operated my own firm on contingency, I would still want to track my associates’ hours as a way of seeing how much work they’re actually doing for me. There is probably an art and science to quickly making money without spending many hours on a file, even at a junior level, but I also think that a junior shouldn’t be penalized for spending tons of their time on a file that doesn’t end up being lucrative. 

My understanding is that is a simple formula. 1) Is there money to be made? 2) Moderate amount or High Amount of money? 3) How much effort will it take? Based on those factors, the percentage will adjust accorindgliy. That, coupled with the fact that you’re juggling 30-40+ files at a given time, by definition, you can’t be needlessly wasting your time. 

On the other hand, its obvious when a lawyer isn’t on a contingency fee arrangement. For example, I’ve been to a discovery where OC was needlessly asking unnecessary questions just to rack up their hourly bill and take up everyone’s time. 

I feel the same way about solicitor work. “Billables” is a totally foreign concept to me. 

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I assume you are right and the billable hour system doesn’t apply in your case at all. However, your assessment should still be based on your “value”. I’d say that’s external value (I.e. how much would other firms pay you) and internal value (i.e what is your worth at your firm, in which case the 3x salary rule of thumb probably applies). I still think that you need to start talking to others in your particular municipality, are of law, and close to your year of call.

In terms of all the non-salary ways to compensate you, beyond law society fees, insurance, and business cards, I have found a wide range in terms of what my former classmates and I got. It wasn’t necessarily split between big/mid/solo firms or the type of law. You shouldn’t have any issue asking your colleagues what was provided, unless someone got a sweet decorating budget only because they’re the managing partner’s niece or nephew.

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1 hour ago, purplelego said:

I assume you are right and the billable hour system doesn’t apply in your case at all. However, your assessment should still be based on your “value”. I’d say that’s external value (I.e. how much would other firms pay you) and internal value (i.e what is your worth at your firm, in which case the 3x salary rule of thumb probably applies). I still think that you need to start talking to others in your particular municipality, are of law, and close to your year of call.

In terms of all the non-salary ways to compensate you, beyond law society fees, insurance, and business cards, I have found a wide range in terms of what my former classmates and I got. It wasn’t necessarily split between big/mid/solo firms or the type of law. You shouldn’t have any issue asking your colleagues what was provided, unless someone got a sweet decorating budget only because they’re the managing partner’s niece or nephew.

Thanks for your feedback. 

I've had those conversations now with friends and colleagues, as well as reviewed the literature, so I have a good idea of what the market rate is.

My question, however, is more so in regards to actual strategy when negotiating this thing. Do individuals negotiate a 1st year salary? Other than saying "I'm hardworking and therefore I deserve more" how else do people successfully negotiate a higher starting salary, or does that actually not happen and people accept what's given? 

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I think it's rare for first years to negotiate salary, but it all depends on your negotiating leverage, which is very context-specific. You might have a reputation for good work that you can bring up, or you might be able to leverage other offers you've received to negotiate a raise. If you're like most first year associates in that you have no billable history/client network to point to, and you have no other competing offers, you'll probably just have to accept what you're offered.

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16 minutes ago, hitman9172 said:

I think it's rare for first years to negotiate salary, but it all depends on your negotiating leverage, which is very context-specific. You might have a reputation for good work that you can bring up, or you might be able to leverage other offers you've received to negotiate a raise. If you're like most first year associates in that you have no billable history/client network to point to, and you have no other competing offers, you'll probably just have to accept what you're offered.

Right that’s the pickle and how I suspect this may go down. I can try and counter if I’m unhappy but I might have to just accept what comes my way. Glass half full though, I’ve heard they do well at my firm so perhaps it’ll all work out. 

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If they offer you something low but you are inclined to take it, one thing you can negotiate is an earlier review after say 6 months as opposed to a year. This can backfire though, if you don't pull your weight - the first month or so will be an adjustment if you're heading to a new firm.  

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2 hours ago, BHC1 said:

If they offer you something low but you are inclined to take it, one thing you can negotiate is an earlier review after say 6 months as opposed to a year. This can backfire though, if you don't pull your weight - the first month or so will be an adjustment if you're heading to a new firm.  

I have a feeling that may be offered, but my concern is at that point they can just as easily say sorry we can’t afford anything right now let’s talk later. If I can land a solid figure now, then having the option to renegotiate later is a bonus. Although either way there’s nothing stopping me from asking for a raise either way at the 6 month 12 month etc mark. 

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1 hour ago, Mycousinsteve said:

I have a feeling that may be offered, but my concern is at that point they can just as easily say sorry we can’t afford anything right now let’s talk later. If I can land a solid figure now, then having the option to renegotiate later is a bonus. Although either way there’s nothing stopping me from asking for a raise either way at the 6 month 12 month etc mark. 

If you don’t establish the 6 month renegotiation timeline now, I doubt the firm will be willing to renegotiate in 6 months given that junior lawyers’ salaries are uniformly re-evaluated on an annual basis. 

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2 hours ago, Mycousinsteve said:

Thanks tips 

You’re welcome. It’s elementary stuff (literally), but it can make a world of difference in how partners and peers view you. 

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4 minutes ago, beentheredonethat4 said:

You’re welcome. It’s elementary stuff (literally), but it can make a world of difference in how partners and peers view you. 

What do you mean? Our job is to try and put together some sort of synthesis, which the partners will throw into the garbage, try again 3 more times, send to the clerks, who then criticize us for their own chip on their shoulder, do it all over and only then submit it. 

 

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32 minutes ago, Mycousinsteve said:

What do you mean? Our job is to try and put together some sort of synthesis, which the partners will throw into the garbage, try again 3 more times, send to the clerks, who then criticize us for their own chip on their shoulder, do it all over and only then submit it. 

 

What a terrible place the inside of your head must be. 

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3 hours ago, Mycousinsteve said:

What do you mean? Our job is to try and put together some sort of synthesis, which the partners will throw into the garbage, try again 3 more times, send to the clerks, who then criticize us for their own chip on their shoulder, do it all over and only then submit it. 

 

What the hell did I just read? 

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If the above posts indicate the relationships and views you've developed about the people at your firm I wouldn't be surprised if you get low-balled. I'm on the 4th day of an internship at a firm and I can already see how integral clerks are to the functioning of the firm. Plus they've saved my ass already multiple times.

Edited by FingersCr0ssed
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2 hours ago, FingersCr0ssed said:

If the above posts indicate the relationships and views you've developed about the people at your firm I wouldn't be surprised if you get low-balled. I'm on the 4th day of an internship at a firm and I can already see how integral clerks are to the functioning of the firm. Plus they've saved my ass already multiple times.

I’m in my third year of practise and have met many surly senior clerks, maybe you’ll meet one on day 5.

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On 1/7/2019 at 12:26 PM, setto said:

I'm an articling student with a larger full service firm. From my understanding, there isn't much leeway with negotiating salaries until you are in the 4th year-ish range as they stick firmly to lockstep. You take what they give you for the chance to participate in the delightful pyramid scheme that is a national firm.

Having said that, I've had considerable business experience before law school. But like I said before, the legal world can be weird sometimes and is a market I've never participated in before law school, so please consider that before taking any of my advice.

Ohh man, I wish every graduating law student understood this. 

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3 hours ago, shawniebear said:

Ohh man, I wish every graduating law student understood this. 

Curious to get more information about what you mean?

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On 1/11/2019 at 7:39 PM, corruptfate said:

Curious to get more information about what you mean?

A lot of graduating law students who are obsessed with getting jobs at a major national firm don't realize that if you break down the financial structure of these firms and how they rely on younger lawyers to draw profits for the older partners at the firm, you realize that it is basically a pyramid scheme. Albeit, one that pays people at the bottom 6 figure salary's, but a pyramid scheme nonetheless. 

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8 minutes ago, shawniebear said:

A lot of graduating law students who are obsessed with getting jobs at a major national firm don't realize that if you break down the financial structure of these firms and how they rely on younger lawyers to draw profits for the older partners at the firm, you realize that it is basically a pyramid scheme. Albeit, one that pays people at the bottom 6 figure salary's, but a pyramid scheme nonetheless. 

I think you just discovered how corporations work. 

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