Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

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Anonymous User
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Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 17, 2017 2:18 pm

I was not expecting that phone call and I think it generally went well because I got invited for an office interview, BUT he asked me for salary expectations and I froze up.
It's a mid-size boutique firm (or small actually, with 20-30 attorneys) in a big city, and I said minimum 80k, and he said that is a number he could work with- did I go to low? advice/help for negotiating later on?

area of law: regulatory/intl trade
experience: not practicing law but compliance - couple years out of law school

Nosso
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:33 am

Re: Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

Postby Nosso » Wed May 17, 2017 2:33 pm

Do some research to figure out what the salary range would be in the area. If it's higher than 80k, then you can bring that up when salary is being negotiated. Easy to say that you were ballparking initially because you were not aware of what the going rate was for that type of work in your market.

ur_hero
Posts: 128
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2016 6:52 pm

Re: Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

Postby ur_hero » Wed May 17, 2017 5:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was not expecting that phone call and I think it generally went well because I got invited for an office interview, BUT he asked me for salary expectations and I froze up.
It's a mid-size boutique firm (or small actually, with 20-30 attorneys) in a big city, and I said minimum 80k, and he said that is a number he could work with- did I go to low? advice/help for negotiating later on?

area of law: regulatory/intl trade
experience: not practicing law but compliance - couple years out of law school


For a mid-sized firm in a big city, that definitely seems on the lower end. It's decent, but I imagine you will find that market in your city at that type of firm is much higher (probably at least six figures). Obviously this may vary at some firms due to culture, benefits, hour expectations, bonus/commission, etc., so don't feel cheated or insulted before you're working with more information. Ideally, they would be upfront about what they generally pay their other attorneys for your level of experience but understandably non-biglaw firms aren't always forward about that.

gaddockteeg
Posts: 265
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:33 pm

Re: Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

Postby gaddockteeg » Wed May 17, 2017 5:56 pm

80k for a 9-5 gig is pretty great imo. Like the above poster said, it really depends on hours/bonus.

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Mickfromgm
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Re: Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

Postby Mickfromgm » Wed May 17, 2017 9:13 pm

If I were you, I would definitely want to know how much 1st years typically make at the firm (I assume you are going in as a first-year). Pretty sure it's not totally "negotiable" on a case by case basis.

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Re: Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 17, 2017 11:55 pm

Mickfromgm wrote:If I were you, I would definitely want to know how much 1st years typically make at the firm (I assume you are going in as a first-year). Pretty sure it's not totally "negotiable" on a case by case basis.



How would I find out though - it's not available on the internet (I checked) - do you think they'd be open if I asked?

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Re: Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 17, 2017 11:56 pm

ur_hero wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I was not expecting that phone call and I think it generally went well because I got invited for an office interview, BUT he asked me for salary expectations and I froze up.
It's a mid-size boutique firm (or small actually, with 20-30 attorneys) in a big city, and I said minimum 80k, and he said that is a number he could work with- did I go to low? advice/help for negotiating later on?

area of law: regulatory/intl trade
experience: not practicing law but compliance - couple years out of law school


For a mid-sized firm in a big city, that definitely seems on the lower end. It's decent, but I imagine you will find that market in your city at that type of firm is much higher (probably at least six figures). Obviously this may vary at some firms due to culture, benefits, hour expectations, bonus/commission, etc., so don't feel cheated or insulted before you're working with more information. Ideally, they would be upfront about what they generally pay their other attorneys for your level of experience but understandably non-biglaw firms aren't always forward about that.



yeah this sounds on point. I definitely need to know more about their benefits/bonus structure and evaluate then. will keep you all posted.

B90
Posts: 523
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Re: Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

Postby B90 » Thu May 18, 2017 12:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mickfromgm wrote:If I were you, I would definitely want to know how much 1st years typically make at the firm (I assume you are going in as a first-year). Pretty sure it's not totally "negotiable" on a case by case basis.



How would I find out though - it's not available on the internet (I checked) - do you think they'd be open if I asked?

I wouldn't ask. They probably won't tell you or be honest if they do give a number. Salary negotiation is difficult. It is kinda like buying an airline ticket. Someone on your flight is always going to get more and someone is always going to get less. You need to pick a number that you are comfortanle with. Remember, there are a TON of discretionary perks you can ask for, especially with a boutique firm. The fact that salaries aren't lockstep or known to others means no one will know you hve an extra week of vacation or are allowed to work remotely one day a week, etc. Come up with a list of "fantasy perks" that you can bring up. Think about things like reimbursement for things medical or dental insurance doesn't cover, season tickets/golf membership or whatever.

ur_hero
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Re: Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

Postby ur_hero » Thu May 18, 2017 3:25 am

B90 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Mickfromgm wrote:If I were you, I would definitely want to know how much 1st years typically make at the firm (I assume you are going in as a first-year). Pretty sure it's not totally "negotiable" on a case by case basis.



How would I find out though - it's not available on the internet (I checked) - do you think they'd be open if I asked?

I wouldn't ask. They probably won't tell you or be honest if they do give a number. Salary negotiation is difficult. It is kinda like buying an airline ticket. Someone on your flight is always going to get more and someone is always going to get less. You need to pick a number that you are comfortanle with. Remember, there are a TON of discretionary perks you can ask for, especially with a boutique firm. The fact that salaries aren't lockstep or known to others means no one will know you hve an extra week of vacation or are allowed to work remotely one day a week, etc. Come up with a list of "fantasy perks" that you can bring up. Think about things like reimbursement for things medical or dental insurance doesn't cover, season tickets/golf membership or whatever.


I think it's fine to ask, as long as you're not awkward or apologetic about asking. Obviously get a feel for the mood/situation, but it's not out of line to ask - just don't expect them to give you a straight answer or be upset when they're vague or turn the question around on you.

And in general, it's totally fine to negotiate salary but don't be pushy or entitled about it. When you walk in to that interview, you need to know (1) Your bottom line - the least you're willing to reasonably accept; (2) Your target/expected salary based on market and whatever you can learn about the firm's compensation ahead of time; and (3) Starting point - the number you will propose if forced to make a first offer. Maybe slightly higher than your goal, but don't be too ambitious. Just something to negotiate slightly down from so they'll meet you in the middle.

I would not ask for season tickets to stuff to a new job you're applying for as a presumably junior attorney... [like wtf?] That seems weird....REALLY weird....And while it's possible the firm does gym memberships and stuff, I wouldn't try to negotiate over these....That's extremely petty for a position as a young attorney to be concerned about. If they offer it GREAT, but don't request they sweeten the deal with this kinda stuff......Benefits packages like healthcare and dental/vision are often standardized at a law firm as well, although it's probably at least normal to ask for more detail about what's available there.

B90
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:08 pm

Re: Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

Postby B90 » Thu May 18, 2017 4:46 am

ur_hero wrote:
B90 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Mickfromgm wrote:If I were you, I would definitely want to know how much 1st years typically make at the firm (I assume you are going in as a first-year). Pretty sure it's not totally "negotiable" on a case by case basis.



How would I find out though - it's not available on the internet (I checked) - do you think they'd be open if I asked?

I wouldn't ask. They probably won't tell you or be honest if they do give a number. Salary negotiation is difficult. It is kinda like buying an airline ticket. Someone on your flight is always going to get more and someone is always going to get less. You need to pick a number that you are comfortanle with. Remember, there are a TON of discretionary perks you can ask for, especially with a boutique firm. The fact that salaries aren't lockstep or known to others means no one will know you hve an extra week of vacation or are allowed to work remotely one day a week, etc. Come up with a list of "fantasy perks" that you can bring up. Think about things like reimbursement for things medical or dental insurance doesn't cover, season tickets/golf membership or whatever.


I think it's fine to ask, as long as you're not awkward or apologetic about asking. Obviously get a feel for the mood/situation, but it's not out of line to ask - just don't expect them to give you a straight answer or be upset when they're vague or turn the question around on you.

And in general, it's totally fine to negotiate salary but don't be pushy or entitled about it. When you walk in to that interview, you need to know (1) Your bottom line - the least you're willing to reasonably accept; (2) Your target/expected salary based on market and whatever you can learn about the firm's compensation ahead of time; and (3) Starting point - the number you will propose if forced to make a first offer. Maybe slightly higher than your goal, but don't be too ambitious. Just something to negotiate slightly down from so they'll meet you in the middle.

I would not ask for season tickets to stuff to a new job you're applying for as a presumably junior attorney... [like wtf?] That seems weird....REALLY weird....And while it's possible the firm does gym memberships and stuff, I wouldn't try to negotiate over these....That's extremely petty for a position as a young attorney to be concerned about. If they offer it GREAT, but don't request they sweeten the deal with this kinda stuff......Benefits packages like healthcare and dental/vision are often standardized at a law firm as well, although it's probably at least normal to ask for more detail about what's available there.


I agree that it is "fine" to ask, in the sense that it won't be held against you or looked down on.
Also, it is more than "totally fine" to negotiate. It is expected.
Yes, benefits packages are "often standardized" at law firms. OP said this is a boutique firm, ergo NOT standardized. OP also said s/he is unable to learn anything from research.

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Mickfromgm
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Re: Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

Postby Mickfromgm » Thu May 18, 2017 8:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mickfromgm wrote:If I were you, I would definitely want to know how much 1st years typically make at the firm (I assume you are going in as a first-year). Pretty sure it's not totally "negotiable" on a case by case basis.



How would I find out though - it's not available on the internet (I checked) - do you think they'd be open if I asked?


Sorry, to make it clear:

1. Don't ask anything about salary yet - in fact, don't say anything more either - until you get an offer of employment -- if you like this job and could live with $80K (and apparently they could, too), then you should proceed with the interviews and see what happens;

2. Once you have an offer, it's totally a fair game to ask if they have a standard starting salary for incoming first-year associates. If they say no, it's also fair to ask more questions. I think that the partner asked you about salary only because they didn't want to waste their time if you expected to get $180K per year or whatever. I don't think his motive for asking that question was to lock you into the figure.

3. It's never what you say (ask), but how you say (ask). Once they give you an offer, especially for a smaller firm without a regimented recruiting infrastructure, they have made up their mind that they really want you. It's not a situation where they give 37 offers. So if you stress that you really want to come work for the firm because of whatever, whatever, and that you only want to receive commensurate compensation vis-a-vis other first-year associates, they should understand. If you accept $80K and then find out all other first-year associates in recent memory got $95K, let's say, you know you'd be bitter and angry. That doesn't serve anyone.

4. Presumably, this firm doesn't have a lock-step structure. Find out how they decide raises. If they say it's performance based, you can ask for a range. Bonus structure is very important, too. Some firms pay almost nothing for bonuses, while others pay a massive amount almost every year. Focusing on the starting salary alone, IMHO, is a horrible mistake. Remember, too, that your starting salary will have an effect well into the future if the firm has no lock-step -- if you think about it; for example, if you get $5K less than the median starting salary there, you would be screwed by $5K every single year after that unless they make an equitable adjustment for you to bring you on par with other classes.

ur_hero
Posts: 128
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2016 6:52 pm

Re: Founding partner called me randomly after I submitted app, help

Postby ur_hero » Thu May 18, 2017 12:53 pm

B90 wrote:
ur_hero wrote:
B90 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Mickfromgm wrote:If I were you, I would definitely want to know how much 1st years typically make at the firm (I assume you are going in as a first-year). Pretty sure it's not totally "negotiable" on a case by case basis.



How would I find out though - it's not available on the internet (I checked) - do you think they'd be open if I asked?

I wouldn't ask. They probably won't tell you or be honest if they do give a number. Salary negotiation is difficult. It is kinda like buying an airline ticket. Someone on your flight is always going to get more and someone is always going to get less. You need to pick a number that you are comfortanle with. Remember, there are a TON of discretionary perks you can ask for, especially with a boutique firm. The fact that salaries aren't lockstep or known to others means no one will know you hve an extra week of vacation or are allowed to work remotely one day a week, etc. Come up with a list of "fantasy perks" that you can bring up. Think about things like reimbursement for things medical or dental insurance doesn't cover, season tickets/golf membership or whatever.


I think it's fine to ask, as long as you're not awkward or apologetic about asking. Obviously get a feel for the mood/situation, but it's not out of line to ask - just don't expect them to give you a straight answer or be upset when they're vague or turn the question around on you.

And in general, it's totally fine to negotiate salary but don't be pushy or entitled about it. When you walk in to that interview, you need to know (1) Your bottom line - the least you're willing to reasonably accept; (2) Your target/expected salary based on market and whatever you can learn about the firm's compensation ahead of time; and (3) Starting point - the number you will propose if forced to make a first offer. Maybe slightly higher than your goal, but don't be too ambitious. Just something to negotiate slightly down from so they'll meet you in the middle.

I would not ask for season tickets to stuff to a new job you're applying for as a presumably junior attorney... [like wtf?] That seems weird....REALLY weird....And while it's possible the firm does gym memberships and stuff, I wouldn't try to negotiate over these....That's extremely petty for a position as a young attorney to be concerned about. If they offer it GREAT, but don't request they sweeten the deal with this kinda stuff......Benefits packages like healthcare and dental/vision are often standardized at a law firm as well, although it's probably at least normal to ask for more detail about what's available there.


I agree that it is "fine" to ask, in the sense that it won't be held against you or looked down on.
Also, it is more than "totally fine" to negotiate. It is expected.
Yes, benefits packages are "often standardized" at law firms. OP said this is a boutique firm, ergo NOT standardized. OP also said s/he is unable to learn anything from research.


It's a 20-30 attorney firm - that means there's still an extremely high chance they have select group packages with an insurer for discounted rates. I only said "often" which is true for a firm of this size, so strange that you felt the need to debate that. Obviously he will find out whether this is actually the case or not eventually. And OP said they briefly looked on the internet and found nothing; not sure how you interpreted this as being exhaustive research that renders meaningless any further inquiry.

@OP - Try finding information on firms of a similar size and practice, and if you have the connections, perhaps reach out to alumni or mentors that may have this experience or be familiar with this sort of thing. Your career office from your school may be able to help too. Some schools have amazing career staff (at least mine did and could help with this kinda thing).




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