Negotiating Offer Salary

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Anonymous User
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Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:00 pm

Received a 2L SA offer this week. The attorney who called me said that they "propose a salary of x." This leads me to believe the proposal is a "soft" proposal and is negotiable? It's a pretty small firm who is only bringing on one SA, which also contributes to that belief. It's not a place that has a rigid SA pay structure and a particularly formal SA program.

This raises two questions. First, is the salary negotiable? I lean toward the affirmative on that one. Second, as a strategic concern, should I seek a higher salary?

Their offer is what I would describe as fair, but not particularly remarkable. That's vague but accurate. It's not a lowball offer, and I would accept the offer as-is, but to use terms of negotiation, I would say it's slightly above my reservation price but that I feel like I'm only getting about 25% of the available surplus. I think they would go higher.

That being said, this is a firm that has clearly stated that whoever gets an SA offer all but has in the bag a permanent offer of employment barring some supreme screw-up. I have to weigh any additional salary or three months during the summer against the possibility of losing goodwill through the negotiations process. On the other hand, they might actually find me more professional if I do negotiate. They do a lot of commercial real estate business and the like, so I doubt they want to hire a pushover.

That's the landscape as I see it. I would appreciate any anecdotes, advice, or ideas.

Sup Kid
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby Sup Kid » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:17 pm

Never been in that situation so this is just my two cents, but I would say ask the person who gave you the offer if the salary is negotiable. If it is, they'll probably respond with "what salary would you have in mind?" at which point you should give them a number that you feel accurately represents the going rate for law students in that market. If they say it's not, you have your answer, and a decision to make. Regardless, I don't see doing this as unprofessional, so long as you are honest and forthcoming with them.

Anonymous User
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:58 pm

^ seems correct. I would add that I heard of something similar at a major firm, where an SA/1st year negotiated a bigger salary.

When layoffs came around, he was the first person to go. Bc of the small SA class, this might not be an issue for you, but something to consider.

kahechsof
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby kahechsof » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I would add that I heard of something similar at a major firm, where an SA/1st year negotiated a bigger salary.


In a lockstep firm?

mrloblaw
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby mrloblaw » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:10 pm

kahechsof wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I would add that I heard of something similar at a major firm, where an SA/1st year negotiated a bigger salary.


In a lockstep firm?


Maybe he had pre-law school patent experience of something?

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erico
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby erico » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Received a 2L SA offer this week. The attorney who called me said that they "propose a salary of x." This leads me to believe the proposal is a "soft" proposal and is negotiable? It's a pretty small firm who is only bringing on one SA, which also contributes to that belief. It's not a place that has a rigid SA pay structure and a particularly formal SA program.

This raises two questions. First, is the salary negotiable? I lean toward the affirmative on that one. Second, as a strategic concern, should I seek a higher salary?

Their offer is what I would describe as fair, but not particularly remarkable. That's vague but accurate. It's not a lowball offer, and I would accept the offer as-is, but to use terms of negotiation, I would say it's slightly above my reservation price but that I feel like I'm only getting about 25% of the available surplus. I think they would go higher.

That being said, this is a firm that has clearly stated that whoever gets an SA offer all but has in the bag a permanent offer of employment barring some supreme screw-up. I have to weigh any additional salary or three months during the summer against the possibility of losing goodwill through the negotiations process. On the other hand, they might actually find me more professional if I do negotiate. They do a lot of commercial real estate business and the like, so I doubt they want to hire a pushover.

That's the landscape as I see it. I would appreciate any anecdotes, advice, or ideas.


what's determining your reservation price? is this your only offer? sounds like it. if so the firm has all the leverage. might not be worth it to negotiate unless you can come with a clear, objective (e.g., empirical) standard of what you should make.

Anonymous User
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:08 pm

erico wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Received a 2L SA offer this week. The attorney who called me said that they "propose a salary of x." This leads me to believe the proposal is a "soft" proposal and is negotiable? It's a pretty small firm who is only bringing on one SA, which also contributes to that belief. It's not a place that has a rigid SA pay structure and a particularly formal SA program.

This raises two questions. First, is the salary negotiable? I lean toward the affirmative on that one. Second, as a strategic concern, should I seek a higher salary?

Their offer is what I would describe as fair, but not particularly remarkable. That's vague but accurate. It's not a lowball offer, and I would accept the offer as-is, but to use terms of negotiation, I would say it's slightly above my reservation price but that I feel like I'm only getting about 25% of the available surplus. I think they would go higher.

That being said, this is a firm that has clearly stated that whoever gets an SA offer all but has in the bag a permanent offer of employment barring some supreme screw-up. I have to weigh any additional salary or three months during the summer against the possibility of losing goodwill through the negotiations process. On the other hand, they might actually find me more professional if I do negotiate. They do a lot of commercial real estate business and the like, so I doubt they want to hire a pushover.

That's the landscape as I see it. I would appreciate any anecdotes, advice, or ideas.


what's determining your reservation price? is this your only offer? sounds like it. if so the firm has all the leverage. might not be worth it to negotiate unless you can come with a clear, objective (e.g., empirical) standard of what you should make.


That was my first analysis of the reservation price / leverage until I thought more about the situation (which in fairness to you involves facts I haven't presented yet). They only had one other person they invited for a callback. They called me immediately after the other callback concluded, leading me to believe that this wasn't a difficult decision for them. In other words, they want me to work for them, and they're probably not particularly fond of the other option, and they certainly weren't fond of the other 18ish people they interviewed at OCI that they didn't invite for a callback.

I don't have other concrete options right now, but it's still relatively early. I have done screeners with three other firms in the past two weeks who I may hear from still. I have one firm in a bigger market that indicated they may offer me in the next few months but can't give a decision right now. In addition, I have a permanent employment offer from my 1L firm, so my alternative to taking this job is doing just about anything I want next summer and still having a backup plan long term.

My reservation price is informed by those things, plus the additional rent I'll have to pay to take the job (I'm under a lease in my law school's town through the summer, so I'm paying that rent regardless in addition to having to rent a place near my SA firm if I accept), plus a certain premium I've applied to push me past the indifference point since I have some other potential options and, failing that, a backup plan based on the 1L offer. That premium involves things like the effort of having to move furniture and meet new people and work and hustle and...like...be a productive member of society instead of all of the lazy alternatives available. Hey, I'm just being honest here.

Throw it all in the mix and I'm not really sure the firm has all the leverage. At the risk of sounding flippant, if I approach the point of not giving a shit at all, my reservation price might not be easily ascertainable or static, and I may not have to concede any leverage.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

nsinger
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby nsinger » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
erico wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Received a 2L SA offer this week. The attorney who called me said that they "propose a salary of x." This leads me to believe the proposal is a "soft" proposal and is negotiable? It's a pretty small firm who is only bringing on one SA, which also contributes to that belief. It's not a place that has a rigid SA pay structure and a particularly formal SA program.

This raises two questions. First, is the salary negotiable? I lean toward the affirmative on that one. Second, as a strategic concern, should I seek a higher salary?

Their offer is what I would describe as fair, but not particularly remarkable. That's vague but accurate. It's not a lowball offer, and I would accept the offer as-is, but to use terms of negotiation, I would say it's slightly above my reservation price but that I feel like I'm only getting about 25% of the available surplus. I think they would go higher.

That being said, this is a firm that has clearly stated that whoever gets an SA offer all but has in the bag a permanent offer of employment barring some supreme screw-up. I have to weigh any additional salary or three months during the summer against the possibility of losing goodwill through the negotiations process. On the other hand, they might actually find me more professional if I do negotiate. They do a lot of commercial real estate business and the like, so I doubt they want to hire a pushover.

That's the landscape as I see it. I would appreciate any anecdotes, advice, or ideas.


what's determining your reservation price? is this your only offer? sounds like it. if so the firm has all the leverage. might not be worth it to negotiate unless you can come with a clear, objective (e.g., empirical) standard of what you should make.


That was my first analysis of the reservation price / leverage until I thought more about the situation (which in fairness to you involves facts I haven't presented yet). They only had one other person they invited for a callback. They called me immediately after the other callback concluded, leading me to believe that this wasn't a difficult decision for them. In other words, they want me to work for them, and they're probably not particularly fond of the other option, and they certainly weren't fond of the other 18ish people they interviewed at OCI that they didn't invite for a callback.

I don't have other concrete options right now, but it's still relatively early. I have done screeners with three other firms in the past two weeks who I may hear from still. I have one firm in a bigger market that indicated they may offer me in the next few months but can't give a decision right now. In addition, I have a permanent employment offer from my 1L firm, so my alternative to taking this job is doing just about anything I want next summer and still having a backup plan long term.

My reservation price is informed by those things, plus the additional rent I'll have to pay to take the job (I'm under a lease in my law school's town through the summer, so I'm paying that rent regardless in addition to having to rent a place near my SA firm if I accept), plus a certain premium I've applied to push me past the indifference point since I have some other potential options and, failing that, a backup plan based on the 1L offer.

Throw it all in the mix and I'm not really sure the firm has all the leverage. At the risk of sounding flippant, if I approach the point of not giving a shit at all, my reservation price might not be easily ascertainable or static, and I may not have to concede any leverage.


you sound like a dick.

Void
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby Void » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
erico wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Received a 2L SA offer this week. The attorney who called me said that they "propose a salary of x." This leads me to believe the proposal is a "soft" proposal and is negotiable? It's a pretty small firm who is only bringing on one SA, which also contributes to that belief. It's not a place that has a rigid SA pay structure and a particularly formal SA program.

This raises two questions. First, is the salary negotiable? I lean toward the affirmative on that one. Second, as a strategic concern, should I seek a higher salary?

Their offer is what I would describe as fair, but not particularly remarkable. That's vague but accurate. It's not a lowball offer, and I would accept the offer as-is, but to use terms of negotiation, I would say it's slightly above my reservation price but that I feel like I'm only getting about 25% of the available surplus. I think they would go higher.

That being said, this is a firm that has clearly stated that whoever gets an SA offer all but has in the bag a permanent offer of employment barring some supreme screw-up. I have to weigh any additional salary or three months during the summer against the possibility of losing goodwill through the negotiations process. On the other hand, they might actually find me more professional if I do negotiate. They do a lot of commercial real estate business and the like, so I doubt they want to hire a pushover.

That's the landscape as I see it. I would appreciate any anecdotes, advice, or ideas.


what's determining your reservation price? is this your only offer? sounds like it. if so the firm has all the leverage. might not be worth it to negotiate unless you can come with a clear, objective (e.g., empirical) standard of what you should make.


That was my first analysis of the reservation price / leverage until I thought more about the situation (which in fairness to you involves facts I haven't presented yet). They only had one other person they invited for a callback. They called me immediately after the other callback concluded, leading me to believe that this wasn't a difficult decision for them. In other words, they want me to work for them, and they're probably not particularly fond of the other option, and they certainly weren't fond of the other 18ish people they interviewed at OCI that they didn't invite for a callback.

I don't have other concrete options right now, but it's still relatively early. I have done screeners with three other firms in the past two weeks who I may hear from still. I have one firm in a bigger market that indicated they may offer me in the next few months but can't give a decision right now. In addition, I have a permanent employment offer from my 1L firm, so my alternative to taking this job is doing just about anything I want next summer and still having a backup plan long term.

My reservation price is informed by those things, plus the additional rent I'll have to pay to take the job (I'm under a lease in my law school's town through the summer, so I'm paying that rent regardless in addition to having to rent a place near my SA firm if I accept), plus a certain premium I've applied to push me past the indifference point since I have some other potential options and, failing that, a backup plan based on the 1L offer. That premium involves things like the annoyance of having to move and meet new people and work and hustle and...like...be a productive member of society instead of all of the lazy alternatives available. Hey, I'm just being honest here.

Throw it all in the mix and I'm not really sure the firm has all the leverage. At the risk of sounding flippant, if I approach the point of not giving a shit at all, my reservation price might not be easily ascertainable or static, and I may not have to concede any leverage.


Sounds like you have everything all figured out. Just watch the attitude when you attempt to negotiate. You sound a little entitled.

Anonymous User
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:22 pm

Void wrote:Sounds like you have everything all figured out. Just watch the attitude when you attempt to negotiate. You sound a little entitled.


OP here. I'm not "entitled" to anything more than I'm worth or any more compensation than is fair for what I can provide the firm. On the other hand, any potential employee would be remiss not to seek fair compensation. I don't believe an employee is obligated to accept the first offer without the potential for negotiations if the employer would, in fact, be willing to pay more.

I am broke. The law firm is wealthy. Who is the entitled one here? My answer is: nobody. The law firm can certainly try to get me for the lowest price possible, but I'd be a fool to not protect my best interests as well, especially if I feel that the law firm can and is willing to pay more.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:25 pm

nsinger wrote:you sound like a dick.

And you sound like you need some time off for anon abuse.

Image

Void
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby Void » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Void wrote:Sounds like you have everything all figured out. Just watch the attitude when you attempt to negotiate. You sound a little entitled.


OP here. I'm not "entitled" to anything more than I'm worth or any more compensation than is fair for what I can provide the firm. On the other hand, any potential employee would be remiss not to seek fair compensation. I don't believe an employee is obligated to accept the first offer without the potential for negotiations if the employer would, in fact, be willing to pay more.

I am broke. The law firm is wealthy. Who is the entitled one here? My answer is: nobody. The law firm can certainly try to get me for the lowest price possible, but I'd be a fool to not protect my best interests as well, especially if I feel that the law firm can and is willing to pay more.


I said that you sound entitled, not that you are. Cool argument, but if I were a hiring partner and you said that to me, I'd press the button that drops you into the alligator pit. So like I said, just be careful with the attitude. Good luck.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:31 pm

Void wrote:Sounds like you have everything all figured out. Just watch the attitude when you attempt to negotiate. You sound a little entitled.

Void wrote:I said that you sound entitled, not that you are. Cool argument, but if I were a hiring partner and you said that to me, I'd press the button that drops you into the alligator pit. So like I said, just be careful with the attitude. Good luck.

I'm gonna back Void up here. Even if you don't feel entitled, you have to be sure not to sound entitled. I don't think he meant an attack on you, it was genuinely helpful intent.

Void
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby Void » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:33 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Void wrote:Sounds like you have everything all figured out. Just watch the attitude when you attempt to negotiate. You sound a little entitled.

Void wrote:I said that you sound entitled, not that you are. Cool argument, but if I were a hiring partner and you said that to me, I'd press the button that drops you into the alligator pit. So like I said, just be careful with the attitude. Good luck.

I'm gonna back Void up here. Even if you don't feel entitled, you have to be sure not to sound entitled. I don't think he meant an attack on you, it was genuinely helpful intent.


Thanks- I actually was trying to be helpful. The Internet needs an on/off switch for sarcasm.

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erico
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby erico » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:That was my first analysis of the reservation price / leverage until I thought more about the situation (which in fairness to you involves facts I haven't presented yet). They only had one other person they invited for a callback. They called me immediately after the other callback concluded, leading me to believe that this wasn't a difficult decision for them. In other words, they want me to work for them, and they're probably not particularly fond of the other option, and they certainly weren't fond of the other 18ish people they interviewed at OCI that they didn't invite for a callback.

I don't have other concrete options right now, but it's still relatively early. I have done screeners with three other firms in the past two weeks who I may hear from still. I have one firm in a bigger market that indicated they may offer me in the next few months but can't give a decision right now. In addition, I have a permanent employment offer from my 1L firm, so my alternative to taking this job is doing just about anything I want next summer and still having a backup plan long term.

My reservation price is informed by those things, plus the additional rent I'll have to pay to take the job (I'm under a lease in my law school's town through the summer, so I'm paying that rent regardless in addition to having to rent a place near my SA firm if I accept), plus a certain premium I've applied to push me past the indifference point since I have some other potential options and, failing that, a backup plan based on the 1L offer. That premium involves things like the effort of having to move furniture and meet new people and work and hustle and...like...be a productive member of society instead of all of the lazy alternatives available. Hey, I'm just being honest here.

Throw it all in the mix and I'm not really sure the firm has all the leverage. At the risk of sounding flippant, if I approach the point of not giving a shit at all, my reservation price might not be easily ascertainable or static, and I may not have to concede any leverage.


OK so you do have some leverage given that this is your second offer. Go for it. Just make sure that your approach doesn't hurt the relationship, which is important for obvious reasons.

Anonymous User
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:50 pm

OP here.

Thanks for the advice guys, I think the advice to not SOUND entitled is spot on. I certainly wouldn't want to come across that way, nor would I want to come across as apathetic. Or combative.

I guess my approach to any salary negotiation would be just to tell the firm that it would be very helpful to me, in terms of getting to the area and paying rent and daycare (another new fact I'm springing on you all), if I could make x+y instead of x. And maybe that such an offer would lead me to accept the offer now instead of asking for more time. The question is whether I'd really be willing to walk away if the firm didn't budge, and whether taking the original offer at that point would cause me to lose face or credibility after I tried to negotiate to something higher. Part of that question is a personal decision, but part of that could maybe be usefully informed by other opinions around these parts.

Renzo
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby Renzo » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:23 pm

I would add one more possible scenario: you could say, "you know, I would be willing to work for that for this summer, and and we can revisit salary if this turns into a permanent job, after you've had a chance to see what I offer." It might make you seem grateful for the job at this point in time, while they still don't really know you, while simultaneously sending the message that you think you're being lowballed and you'll want more as a full-time employee. And while you'd be foregoing some earnings over the summer, it's probably not that much of a loss for 10 or so weeks of work.

Anonymous User
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Re: Negotiating Offer Salary

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

Thanks for the advice guys, I think the advice to not SOUND entitled is spot on. I certainly wouldn't want to come across that way, nor would I want to come across as apathetic. Or combative.

I guess my approach to any salary negotiation would be just to tell the firm that it would be very helpful to me, in terms of getting to the area and paying rent and daycare (another new fact I'm springing on you all), if I could make x+y instead of x. And maybe that such an offer would lead me to accept the offer now instead of asking for more time. The question is whether I'd really be willing to walk away if the firm didn't budge, and whether taking the original offer at that point would cause me to lose face or credibility after I tried to negotiate to something higher. Part of that question is a personal decision, but part of that could maybe be usefully informed by other opinions around these parts.


Do not bring up your needs, such as traveling, in negotiations over pay unless they are paying you less than 20 per hour. Otherwise that is disingenuous and has little bearing on what you contribute to them. Certainly don't bring up daycare, ever. Next you'll be demanding time off (makes me think this is a flame). Also, when asking for advice laying out all the relevant facts to start will get you much better advice without the need to make corrections.

Renzo gave good advice about what to do. You can also check nalp for any firms in the city customary pay and contact your OCS to find out about pay for the firm and city.




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