4 Tips for Successful Salary Negotiations

Melodie K. Arian
There is always an extra perk you can ask for when you are negotiating your salary.

There is always an extra perk you can ask for when you are negotiating your salary.

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As young lawyers, we learn to advocate and be a voice for our clients. What some of us fail to learn is advocating for ourselves. This is especially true when it comes to salary negotiations and asking for promotions. Whether you are interviewing for your first job, seeking out a new opportunity, or asking for a raise or two, salary negotiation is a skill that will be your best friend throughout your career. Here are some tactics and strategies to consider the next time you are offered your dream job or feel ready to ask for an extra bonus.

Know Your Self-Worth

Before you walk into any job interview or meeting with your boss, know your self-worth! Do some research on what the market rate is for an attorney with your level of experience, in your geographic area, graduating from a similar law school, with similar grade point average (if you are a recent graduate).

The Internet has made it easy for our generation to have such information at our fingertips. LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed are valuable resources for discovering market pays in any given industry. Do your research and come up with a range. 

Do Not Be the First to Share a Number

This tip can be a bit tricky because employers usually try to understand a job applicant’s level of expectation sometimes as early as the first interview. But it’s important for the job seeker to refrain from presenting a number. If you are absolutely left with no option but to present a number, pick the top of the range.

Avoid Accepting the First Offer

Ever been to the Turkish bazaar in Istanbul or any market where individual sellers promote their merchandise? If the answer is yes, you could probably already guess where I am going with this. Do not say yes when you hear the first offer, even if it sounds appealing to you.

Just like bargaining back and forth with a vendor at a market, think of your salary negotiations as a haggling process. Do not be too quick to say yes when you hear the managing attorney of the firm offering you a six-figure salary, even if that is not what you expected.

Negotiate for Additional Perks

Remember, negotiating your salary is not just a numbers game; it is not only about the amount you take home at the end of the day but also about the benefits you receive. These benefits could be extra vacation days, more days working from the comfort of your home, or better yet, a free gym membership. It could also be as simple as a free parking spot if the company does not have its own parking. Of course, this part of the negotiation comes down to personal preference and priorities, but keep in mind that there is always an extra perk you can ask for when you are negotiating your salary.

After a salary negotiation, whether successful or not, it is important to know that it won’t be your last. You might move from one law firm to another, from one city to another state, but the skill you obtain will transfer with you. And remember, just like everything else in life, practice will make salary negotiation perfect.

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Melodie K. Arian

Melodie K. Arian is a judicial law clerk in the Southern District of Florida.