salary negotiations: what to expect?

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salary negotiations: what to expect?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:14 pm

I'm a 3rd yr at a small boutique firm looking to lateral to a large firm in a major city. The firm is not vault ranked but on NALP/Vault page lists "up to $165" as salary for entry level attorneys (think of large firms like Manatt Phelps, Ogletree, Glaser Weil, Barnes Thornburg type who don't pay $180K) depending on location. The office I'm looking at would definitely fall under the higher salary category (NYC/LA). If I were to get a $160K offer, would that be a lowball offer considering I'd be paid the same as a first year? Does the firm expect me to eventually negotiate my way up to $170K - $180K? Would asking for more money piss off the firm? This will be my first time negotiating salary so I'd appreciate some guidance. Thank you.

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Re: salary negotiations: what to expect?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:40 pm

I work at one of these types of firms. They won’t low-ball an offer like that.

For example, my firm is in the 160-170 range for first years and each year it goes up 5-10k depending on hours, review, etc. yes, it’s black box, but even black box firms have some sort of range.

You’ll probably get like 180-190k.

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Re: salary negotiations: what to expect?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:12 am

I got offered 160K. Do these firms expect salary negotiation to end at around 180K?

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Re: salary negotiations: what to expect?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:41 am

Oh, you actually got offered that amount? That’s kind of a slap in the face if vault says up to $165 for a first year. I wouldn’t even entertain the offer if they’re clearly starting you below a first year.

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Re: salary negotiations: what to expect?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:27 am

Well the NALP page says range of like up to $165K depending on location. Im coming from a small boutique that doesnt pay a lot so that may have been a factor. $160K is good money for me but since that is the entry level salary for first years, the firm would not be offended if I asked for 180K?

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Re: salary negotiations: what to expect?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:03 pm

OP here. I expect an offer from a V60 firm (cross fingers) based on my interview and am in the running at another V40 firm and a midtier large firm. Since the firm I'm interested in starts 1st years at $160K, would it be okay to ask for $185K as a third year or is that 25K jump too much? It's a little nerve wrecking to try to negotiate without a second hard offer because I might piss off the firm and get my offer rescinded (or am I thinking too much). At the same time, if I were to start at the offer firm as a first year, I may very well be making $180K-$190K right about at my level, so my request might not be so unreasonable. Worst case scenario is I keep my current job and keep looking but that's such a huge waste of time.

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Re: salary negotiations: what to expect?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:31 am

Push back until they give you a take it or leave it offer. They won’t be pissed it’s part of the game. You should be pissed they low balled you. If you accept you’ll kick yourself next year when you get a 10k raise and will still be getting paid less than the summer associate when you have three or four years experience.

Tell them thank you for the offer. It’s lower than you expected based on first year salary. They’ll tell you that it’s discretionary, etc. and ask them if they can come up because you weren’t expecting that. If they come up to $170 or whatever then tell them you’ll accept $180 or whatever number because that’s in line with the value you can provide as a an x year associate.



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