Across the City law firms have concluded their 2017/2018 financial year. For the first time in a long time most firms across the City have reported strong performance, delivering a profitable finish to the year. Deloitte reports that amongst the UK’s largest law firms there has been an average 8.7% increase in fee income in the final quarter. In fact, all of the UK’s top 100 law firms have reported growth at various levels, the most modest of which was reported to be around 4-6%, seen generally amongst the smaller firms. This strong performance has allowed for the legal recruitment market to pick up pace at all fee earner levels. The private client, employment, litigation and arbitration sectors are just some of the spaces we’ve seen significant expansion and success this financial year.
However, over the last few years we’ve seen a rapid increase in disgruntled candidates, especially at the senior level; candidates that are frustrated and concerned with their level of remuneration and the less than generous pay increases year on year. Work pressures, client targets and billable hours have increased but remuneration has not, at least not at a level that bares any resemblance to the increased pressures our candidates are facing. Inflationary salary increases haven’t stopped but tantilasing bonuses, handsome equity shares and healthy basic salary reviews have. Until now, law firms could persuasively, and reasonably, justify their decisions not to meet salary expectations on conservative financial performance, market instability and of course, Brexit.
Fortunately, the financial diligence and caution most of our clients were, understandably, taking is lessening as market confidence improves. With better fee recoveries, greater freedom to increase hourly rates and further growth and profit forecasted for the coming years, lawyers are wanting to renegotiate their financial packages. Here’s your five point guide on how to do it:
At risk of stating the obvious, the art to a successful salary review (or indeed any performance related review meeting) is to make sure you have properly prepared for it. That means having all the important information at your finger tips. Leave your comfort zone. Rarely are these meetings concluded unsuccessfully if you have assimilated the right information, presented it with confidence (remember we often have a very skewed perception of our abilities) and, make sure what you’re presenting resonates with the person sitting across the table from you. If you do that, you’re 50% the way there.
If compensation is not your only driver, or indeed, the negotiations do not conclude as you would hope, please get in touch with us to consider, on a strictly confidential basis, how we can help.
29th July 2020
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