{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Best way to request change in pay structure?\nPI lawyer going on 4yrs w/firm. I make a salary, no performance incentive.\nEarned ≈ $2M in fees for the firm, salary <$90k.\nI’m no rainmaker or prodigy. I just work my ass off, signed and worked good cases.\nI’m a workaholic-no spouse or kids so I don’t mind the hrs, but I feel defeated when I closed 6 cases for fees that were 4+ years’ salary each & I don’t even get a taste of it.\nSo-how does an associate ask for a % of fees in the appropriate way?", "post_id": "5fd91dec2d7012002ace1b33", "reply_count": 25, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law", "feed_type": "crowd" }

Best way to request change in pay structure?
PI lawyer going on 4yrs w/firm. I make a salary, no performance incentive.
Earned ≈ $2M in fees for the firm, salary <$90k.
I’m no rainmaker or prodigy. I just work my ass off, signed and worked good cases.
I’m a workaholic-no spouse or kids so I don’t mind the hrs, but I feel defeated when I closed 6 cases for fees that were 4+ years’ salary each & I don’t even get a taste of it.
So-how does an associate ask for a % of fees in the appropriate way?

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Dude 2 mill in fees and you can't start you own shop? I would totally hire you for 2 mill in fees.

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If I got paid more so I could save my living expenses/student loan payments I probably would’ve already.

likefunny

Many of my friends are on the plaintiffs side. They tell me 2 mill in fees should equate to a salary/bonus or at least 2-250k a year.

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This happens tho. Not surprised that plaintiffs lawyers are always splintering off firms and doing their own thing. Why would they not when they don’t get a taste. Sounds like someone like you may be better off rolling the dice on a lower base and negotiating a nice percent cut of originated cases and cases you work up. I did have these discussions with a couple firms, but I would have taken like 100k cut on the salary - maybe without kids I would have rolled the dice. I guess if I could redo it, I would have tried my luck at an eat what you kill plaintiff firm

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Are those 2m in fees origination (cases you personal brought in) or just from your workload? Most PI, at least on the plaintiff's side, get a percentage of what they bring in. Also, its a rarity, but some also/alternatively, get a % from their caseload. Getting 5% of your caseload or 33-40% of cases you sign up is standard, at least in NY. I get 40% of cases that I bring in but no caseload %

likesmart

Your firm has the best deal in town if that’s your cut of generating $2mil in fees. Renegotiate tonight.

Can you start your own shop? Sounds like the folks you work for should be giving you a taste.

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I’d like to think I’m capable, but I need to get my living expenses saved. Unfortunately, I don’t get paid enough to do so quickly😂

smart

Associate you can do this!!! You got this!!!! If they don’t give you a pay raise start your own shop!

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If you are kicking ass the way that you describe then you are a huge asset that the firm will not want to lose. If they do not give you a raise then start poking around to other places that provide incentives for production. Bet on yourself but don’t leap before you have a plan.

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Ask for incentive compensation. Totally normal firm convo to have. Get something like 15-25% of gross revenue based on what you bill over your requirements. I worked for a small firm and asked for this a year in and we were able to work it out / amend the employment contract for it. Sounds very deserved.

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You are getting fleeced

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Where do you practice? That was my life for a while and I indeed did start my own practice because of that exact reason. Accordingly, I absolutely plan to give associates a percentage for origination and for successful dispositions. Like you mentioned, any incentive is more than what most Plaintiff’s Firms pay their associates.

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Run me my check

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Based on your math if you brought in 2 million and your cut is generously 40% you brought in 800k. 250 is very reasonable but make sure it’s based on your work alone. Like if you need a team (jr associate/legal intern/paralegals/ secretary) to help you get that subtract accordingly.

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You deserve more money. Ask for a bonus in recognition of your hard work.

Where are you located? 90k for a fourth year without any additional participation in fees is pretty low, at least in big markets. Most firms give you a small percentage of all your cases, assuming you handle the cases completely on your own. If there’s a partner or other more senior lawyer handling trials or at least putting his name in the caption looking like he’ll be the one trying the case if there’s no settlement, then it’s a bit different and maybe you’d either get just a fixed salary (higher than 90) or a very small percentage. But for sure you should be getting a cut of the cases you originated. I’ve never heard of anyone not getting a cut of originating cases. Ask during your performance review or if you don’t have one, ask for a meeting. You probably don’t get it cause you never asked. Good luck!

Sorry OP, but to give you perspective and hopefully you use this to go out and better yourself, I have a higher salary as a first year and I get 15% origination on all cases I bring in.

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