Small Firm Salary Structure/Negotiation Questions

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LibertyLady

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Small Firm Salary Structure/Negotiation Questions

Postby LibertyLady » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:43 pm

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Last edited by LibertyLady on Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RaceJudicata

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Re: Small Firm Salary Structure/Negotiation Questions

Postby RaceJudicata » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:53 pm

Negotiation 101: never give someone a range - they will always pick the bottom number. Ultimately, they are going to pay you what you want. Give them a number and see their response.

LibertyLady

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Re: Small Firm Salary Structure/Negotiation Questions

Postby LibertyLady » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:00 pm

I know, I kicked myself for giving them a number, but I'm glad I at least kept it in a 10k range. I think I'm just nervous to throw out a high number and get a, "sorry, we can't hire you. We don't have the budget for that amount." The man I interviewed with spent most of our lunch trying to talk me down on the base salary amount I give him. I don't know if he did that because he likes me and wants me to give him a number that allows the firm to hire me (they're sort of creating the position) or if he's trying to use my experience and his negotiation tactics to talk me down as low as I'll go.

smallfirmassociate

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Re: Small Firm Salary Structure/Negotiation Questions

Postby smallfirmassociate » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:49 pm

Don't negotiate against yourself. You already gave a number. Did they say yes or no? Sounds like they said neither and just asked you to give them a lower number. They're definitely wanting to have their cake and eat it too. Pretty common tactic. If you feel compelled to give them a lower number (acknowledging thereby that your first offer was clearly too high), then I wouldn't give them anything near your reserve ($65k).

You said $70k - $80k in the interview, which actually sets you up nicely for this response. Tell them that you are interested in the firm and are willing to accept the offer at the low end of the range you named in the interview. Ask for $72k plus a negotiated bonus program based on production.

If they don't like it, they can come up with a number. If they walk away from you asking for $72k without first making a counteroffer -- well, they won't. They want you to think they will, but unless you are their #2 or #3 choice anyway and they are just seeing if you'll accept slave wages, they simply won't.

LibertyLady

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Re: Small Firm Salary Structure/Negotiation Questions

Postby LibertyLady » Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:06 pm

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Last edited by LibertyLady on Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lolwat

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Re: Small Firm Salary Structure/Negotiation Questions

Postby lolwat » Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:09 pm

LibertyLady wrote:We went out for lunch afterwards where he told me to think about my bottom line base number this weekend saying things like, "well your husband has a good job so at you don't need a huge salary to pay off your loans" (the partner is friends with a family friend. Family friend mentioned what my spouse does during the introduction.) I think your 72k with negotiated bonuses seems very reasonable.


Yeah, it also means you don't need to work your ass off for slave wages too.

Go for the highest salary that seems reasonable to you and don't negotiate against yourself.

That bit about budget is stupid. If they have the work, you'll be billing hours and making them a hell of a lot more money than they'll be paying you. That's how it always works with associates.

smallfirmassociate

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Re: Small Firm Salary Structure/Negotiation Questions

Postby smallfirmassociate » Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:15 pm

LibertyLady wrote:I think your 72k with negotiated bonuses seems very reasonable.


I think it's at least a starting point and a fair offer that shows good faith. They might want to walk you down, but if you're aiming for $65k plus an incentive program, then you might end up where you like. Then try to get a fair bonus to calculate out to $7k or so to get to where you want to be.

How to negotiate the bonus program is a different ballgame. Some small law firms actually disclose P&L's to associates (if you dig into the bylaws, you'll see this from time to time). They might not be willing to do that, but you do need to look behind the curtain a little bit to negotiate a fair bonus program. That's actually part of the appeal to it, to get you useful information from the books of your prospective employer.

You can always ask about past associate billings and go from there. That might be putting the cart before the horse. Good luck.



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