Lawyers and attorneys are among the highest paid professionals within the United States. That said, not all salaries are certain, and like in any profession, many legal professionals earn far below their potential because they fail to properly communicate their worth and leave too much money on the table when negotiating salary.
The legal profession can be incredibly demanding and stressful, so you want to make sure that you are properly compensated for your hard work. And so, to make sure you recover the best salary possible for your position, here are four salary negotiating tips for legal professionals.
1. Know your venue.
Understanding your jurisdiction and venue while performing legal work is critical to knowing in which courts to bring claims. So too, is it critical to understand your venue when undergoing salary negotiations with your employer. Meaning, you need to do your research and learn what salaries other legal professionals of a similar skill level and position are making within your city or the surrounding area. That way, you'll know how much you should be asking for, and if any offer is too low.
2. Don't forget the benefits.
It is important to think of compensation over salary when negotiating with your employer. While a higher salary is certainly alluring, there is an increasing demand for better benefits among attorneys. Oftentimes, attorneys will opt for a more comprehensive compensation package instead of a higher salary. And so, if your employer is unwilling to pay you a greater base salary, it is worth inquiring into bonus structure, billable hours, equity opportunities, and health benefits. There may be some wiggle room in those areas that could offset a lower salary.
3. Highlight your greatest strengths.
If your employer is willing to negotiate salary or compensation, he or she may ask what skills you offer to justify the amount you seek. It is important that you go into any negotiation understanding your greatest strengths as a legal professional. If you are a civil attorney, you may want to demonstrate your proficiency with Westlaw or capability at billing high hours. If you are working as a public prosecutor, you should be able to discuss your caseload and conviction rate. Alongside these metrics, point to specific wins your superior will be aware of to help cement your worth. Also, if salary negotiations do not occur at set intervals, consider bringing up a raise after a major win you just had.
4. Remain professional.
When standing before a judge, you're expected to maintain courtroom decorum, which is a certain professionalism and behavior expected from all attorneys. This same decorum should be present when negotiating your salary. Be courteous, honest, and friendly. Be confident, not arrogant. If you can offer compelling, straightforward evidence supporting your position in a dignified manner, your employer is more likely to reciprocate and try to meet your expectations.
Are you looking for work within the legal profession? See who is hiring at CyberCoders.com.
Thousands of full-time and remote jobs in every industry. Search jobs.
We'll find you the right candidate, fast. Get started.
Our recruiters connect people with great opportunities and help our clients build amazing teams. Learn more.