Can you negotiate big law salary?

Asked by: Maureen Wyman I  |  Last update: November 26, 2023
Score: 4.5/5 (63 votes)

Be open to exploring multiple offers, even if you have one from your target firm. Your starting salary may be negotiable at smaller firms, but if you are in BigLaw, you can still negotiate for more pay. First, you should look to be made whole on your annual bonus.

Can you negotiate salary at a law firm?

Even in large firms, after the first couple years, you will be negotiating salary. In addition, for most public interest jobs, there is usually a little leeway to negotiate, and even in many government jobs, you can negotiate between certain levels of pay.

How much more is OK to negotiate salary?

Start with a figure that's no more than 10-20% above their initial offer. Remember, you're applying for entry level, and you shouldn't expect something on the higher range. Consider negotiating lower if 10-20% places you above the average.

How do I ask for a big law signing bonus?

Most BigLaw firms at the top of the market will include some form of bonus amount or coverage in initial offer letter. Work with your recruiter to discuss the firm's approach and policy to bonuses and what your goals are for any bonus negotiation. First, make sure the language is clear and understandable.

How do you negotiate legal salary?

4 Salary Negotiation Tips for Legal Professionals
  1. Do your research. As someone just starting out, you don't have any reference points for how much you should expect to make. ...
  2. Highlight your strengths. ...
  3. Negotiate extras. ...
  4. Remain professional.

How to Handle a LOWBALL offer! - Salary negotiation tips

25 related questions found

How do you argue for a higher salary offer?

Learning to be a negotiator
  1. Do your homework. Just because the salary offer feels like it is enough to cover your expenses doesn't necessarily mean that it is the market average. ...
  2. Know your value. ...
  3. Ignore your previous salary. ...
  4. Give an exact number. ...
  5. Think beyond your base salary. ...
  6. Hope for the best, but expect the worst.

How do I respectfully negotiate a higher starting salary?

Here are eight tips for how to negotiate a salary that can help you tactfully and confidently ask for what you want.
  1. Become familiar with industry salary trends. ...
  2. Build your case. ...
  3. Tell the truth. ...
  4. Factor in perks and benefits. ...
  5. Practice your delivery. ...
  6. Know when to wrap it up. ...
  7. Get everything in writing. ...
  8. Stay positive.

What is a typical big law bonus?

Class of 2022: $15K (pro-rated) Class of 2015+: $115K. November 29, 2022. For market bonuses: 2000-2349 hours for regular bonus; 2350-2599 hours for extraordinary bonus ($30K (pro-rated)-$150K); 2600+ hours for extra-extraordinary bonus ($40K (pro-rated)-$165K))

What is a realistic signing bonus?

After receiving your official job offer with your projected salary and benefits, you will be able to gauge your potential bonus opportunity; one rule of thumb is that a hiring bonus is about 10% of your salary.

What is a typical signing bonus size?

On average, it's usually in the thousands of dollars, such as $10,000 or even upwards of $50,000. If you're interested in a signing bonus, you may be able to negotiate for one before accepting a compensation package from a new company.

Is it awkward to negotiate salary?

As individuals transition into their first permanent positions they are frequently unprepared to effectively negotiate their starting salaries. Many job-seekers are uncomfortable discussing money, or fail to understand that they do, in fact, have leverage.

Can I negotiate salary after accepting offer?

Treat negotiating a salary after accepting a job offer with great caution. If you are prepared to be open, honest and allow your new employer to see you are being reasonable, it may make them feel more open to enter back into negotiations if they have such bandwidth.

Do employers always expect you to negotiate salary?

What's the best job for you? But you should know that in almost every case, the company expects you to negotiate and it's in your best interest to give it a shot. In fact, a study by found 84% of employers expect job applicants to negotiate salary during the interview stage.

Do big law firms give bonuses?

The bonus scales that tops out at $115,000 for the most senior firm associates has firms returning to familiar territory, as they kept annual bonuses level from 2014 and 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Law. Top awards jumped 15% in 2021 as firms battled for talent after a rise in client demand.

What not to say in salary negotiation?

“Sorry” According to Doody, “Negotiating is uncomfortable, and our natural tendency is to try to smooth the edges on a difficult conversation. Saying sorry could signal to the recruiter or hiring manager that you might be willing to back down, and that could be expensive. Don't apologize for negotiating.”

What are 5 tips for negotiating salary?

Here are 5 tips for negotiating salary:
  • Know what you're worth. Websites like and are great resources to find out what is the average salary for people in similar roles. ...
  • Timing is everything. ...
  • Be realistic. ...
  • Don't ask too often. ...
  • Don't be afraid to ask.

Should I ask for higher salary and signing bonus?

If you are sure you have negotiated as hard as possible on salary, consider opening up a signing bonus negotiation. An employer that is reluctant to commit to a higher salary, one that will continue to rise during your tenure with the organization, may be more open to negotiating a one-time signing bonus.

Is it inappropriate to ask for a signing bonus?

Some job search boards allow seekers to narrow the search by whether a position comes with a signing bonus. But if it's not advertised, in general, our experts said you'll want to ask for a signing bonus after the manager offers you the job and you receive the hiring package.

Should I wait for bonus before quitting?

If you work for a company with a scheduled bonus period, you may want to wait until you receive the most recent, forthcoming payment. In this circumstance, employees get offered specific percentages or merit-based pay. Should you choose to leave your role, you would still be eligible.

Is it hard to get into big law?

Prepare for a corporate law career.

Becoming a first-year associate at a large corporate law firm isn't easy, experts say. With full-time, first-year associate positions at large law firms typically paying six-figure salaries, the competition for these entry-level legal jobs is intense.

What is Biglaw Federal Clerkship bonus?

Clerkship bonuses tend to hover around $50,000 at large corporate law firms, with some exceptions. Boies Schiller Flexner in March raised its clerkship bonus to $110,000.

Do law firms give holiday bonuses?

A bonus payment comes about as a reward for a contribution that is not entirely repeatable. The large majority of small law firms do not guarantee attorney's a holiday bonus.

How do you subtly negotiate salary?

A common tactic in salary negotiation is to ask for slightly more than what you expect. This gives you room to talk, and even if the employer offers less, you'll likely get a salary that you're comfortable with. If the hiring manager can't negotiate the salary, you can try asking for other perks that they can give you.

How do you respond to a low salary offer?

I'm really excited about the company and the role. I want to be upfront with you that the salary is lower than I was expecting based on my skills and experience. I'd like to be at a number more like $X. I'm really interested in this opportunity and would love to make this work with you.”

How to ask for a higher salary after a job offer example?

Hi (Recipient's name), Thank you for offering me the position of (job role). I would be delighted to accept, but I wanted to ask whether we could discuss the starting salary. I believe the starting salary doesn't reflect my (skills, experience, market conditions, other comparable roles, etc.)