How To Negotiate Your Legal Pay Rise This Year
- February 15, 2022
As I sit down to write this post, my phone has pinged to let me know that the UK economy has rebounded with the fastest growth since World War Two. A 7.5% increase despite falling back in December due to Omicron is a positive situation for business in the UK.
In contrast, our cost-of-living worsened in December after inflation jumped to 5.4% – its highest level in almost 30 years – driven by the higher cost of clothes, food, and footwear; this is likely to get worse as the cost of fuel doubles for many.
Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, says to ask for a pay rise now is to cause further economic decline.
In fact, according to a recent analysis by the Office for Budget Responsibility shared in the Newstatesman, the UK is on course to endure two more decades of stagnant wages, revealing the negative news that we should expect to earn less in 2026 than 2008.
Confusing when we consider the legal sector.
The last two years have seen many law firms report their best year ever, which we can confirm with the number of recruitment instructions we are receiving from our clients.
As a hard-working and productive legal professional, what are your options? Let’s share a few suggestions in this post.
Know Your Facts
The legal candidates we work with here at Clayton Legal are switched on. They know how their firm is faring in the market and what growth is anticipated in future years.
When law firms plan growth, they also understand that they will need to plan financially to increase headcount and ensure their current team is engaged and recompensed appropriately.
Well, hopefully, that is the case.
Though not in every firm.
Taking your time to research salary packages puts you a step ahead because it demonstrates that you have evidence to back up your pay raise request. This data is vital because it will give you leverage when starting the negotiation.
The question then is where your current firm sits on the spectrum, and are you being paid the going rate?
This brings me to the next point.
Know Your Value
Pay and remuneration is a prickly subject, and we aren’t guaranteed a pay rise every year for simply turning up and delivering on our objectives.
Remember, no legal manager likes being held to ransom and at the same time, they appreciate honesty. If you aren’t happy with your remuneration package, you have to tell them; as uncomfortable as that conversation feels.
At Clayton, whenever a candidate comes to us where pay is a problem, we always ask if they have had a discussion with their manager first.
It’s surprising how many people haven’t.
Sometimes a straightforward conversation like this works. Sometimes it doesn’t, and this is where honesty with yourself is important. Here are a few questions to consider.
- What value are you delivering to the firm?
- What results did you achieve last year that were above what was expected?
- Is your manager or HR fully aware of your contribution to the firm?
- Considering this, how will you demonstrate how valuable you are?
As a first start, use your performance objectives showing all your achievements. This way, you will let your firm appreciate your worth and what it might cost to replace you.
You could take your manager through the goals that were agreed upon together and what actions you have taken to achieve the results you have.
You will be surprised how well this works. Your manager could be responsible for a lot of people. They are human too, and might not have all your performance wins etched in their memory.
Know What You Want
This final point is key; know what you want, and here are a few things to consider.
- Do you have a figure in mind?
- Is this based on your personal need?
- Your analysis of the current market?
- How much you think you are worth?
It is important to know what you want and why and have justification for the figure you are asking.
Here is something else.
Is money your real motivator, or are there other options to consider? The world of work is changing, and many firms could consider hybrid working for day weeks and sabbatical leave. These are all options that are now on the negotiating table that wasn’t just a few short years ago.
Know Your Walk-Away Point And Your Options
You might be pleasantly surprised that your pay rise suggestion is accepted, especially in the current talent market.
However, be prepared that it might not. Therefore you need to consider your options.
The upside is that we are currently in a candidate-driven market because of the skill shortage fuelled by Covid-19.
For you, this means that your options are open, and if you are prepared to move, you can potentially join a new law firm and continue to develop your career while being appropriately rewarded.
And this is where we can help.
The team here at Clayton Legal have placed literally thousands of legal professionals.
Our twenty + year record of success has enabled us to develop trusted relationships with many of the UK’s law firms, including the Legal 500, Top 200 and smaller and independent regional law firms. We work in partnership with all our customers to deliver on both career expectations and business drivers.
Depending on your role and experience, we may be able to personally represent you to our clients too. If you would like to have a confidential conversation about you and your legal career then do get in touch. You will find all our contact details here.
Though many workplace sectors experienced poor growth last year, the legal sector wasn’t one of them. Here at Clayton Legal, we have multiple clients looking for skilled and ambitious candidates like you. For a confidential conversation about your legal career goals and your next move, please get in contact with one of our team here.
About Clayton Legal
Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country
since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and
reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from
Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T.
personnel to Practice Managers.
If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.