Anyone not in BigLaw/using the Cravath Scale have any advice on how to negotiate a year end bonus/pay raise? Smaller TT PI firm in NY, started 1 year ago 65k/yr and 40% of fees. Since starting I have taken over my own caseload and now independently run approximately 100 cases. I have also brought in a few accident cases ranging in mid 5 to low 6 figures value. I have also shown my bosses a desire to invest in myself and the firm (creating my own social media pages/brand, networking, etc). Con't

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I am hoping for a 10% raise and maybe in a perfect world getting to 70k/yr salary. I hope to continue to bring in cases to eventually supplement my salary. Is this too much to hope for?

I mean.... with 100 cases and a 40% fee, I would imagine your take-home commission is upwards of $100k if not closer to $200k. That’s a pretty nice deal, but I don’t think asking for an extra $5k per year is too much. But wow- 40% of the fee is fantastic.

From experience, many small firms that have that “I give bonuses when I feel like it” boss can be non-negotiable. Knew an associate in this kind of place that single handed did about 1/3 the firm’s workload (20-30 cases) for 3 years and was denied any form of raise or steady bonus schedule. This was a small “good ole boys” shop that did personal injury and paid $50k salary with an “I give bonuses when I feel good unrelated to performance” bonus schedule.

General rule is 1/3 to pay you, 1/3 to expenses, 1/3 to partners pocket. Do the math on what you bill total per year, account for uncollectable amounts, and then see what the 1/3 is that should go to you. I’ve always felt attorneys under 80k per year are criminally underpaid.

For example I do 2100 x my hourly rate = total revenue x 80% to account for uncollectable amounts (unfortunately I’m not sure how accurate that is) then I do 1/3. My firm has been good to me but this year will be a big year so I’m prepared to negotiate based on this info, if needed.

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