{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "How can I set the stage this year to negotiate a lower billable hours expectation instead of a raise? As a woman I'm hesitant to be open about my reason: I want more time at home with my kids. I lateraled to this firm a year ago for WLB and they are indeed flexible on WFH which helps. Salary is a bit below average for mid-size firms like mine in my area, and I didn't get a raise or bonus this year because I didn't hit the billable target (1900). Ideally I'd keep my salary but go to 1600 hours.", "post_id": "6119a969e58d690029e960ac", "reply_count": 7, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "5da60c126e5f0d001f32f497", "bowl_name": "Women in Law" }

How can I set the stage this year to negotiate a lower billable hours expectation instead of a raise? As a woman I'm hesitant to be open about my reason: I want more time at home with my kids. I lateraled to this firm a year ago for WLB and they are indeed flexible on WFH which helps. Salary is a bit below average for mid-size firms like mine in my area, and I didn't get a raise or bonus this year because I didn't hit the billable target (1900). Ideally I'd keep my salary but go to 1600 hours.

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If you agreed to your current salary for 1900 hours, then I think the only way to convince the powers that be to move the needle on reducing hours is to agree to a commensurate reduction from your current salary, unless your hourly rate has been or will be increased significantly enough to justify your reduction in hours without reduction in pay (assuming the firm tracks the 1/3 rule somewhat). If the reason you didn’t get a raise or bonus this year is because you didn’t make enough hours, then I don’t think you can really use that missing raise as a bargaining chip

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It sucks for sure. But this is a hot lateral market, and you may yet find your unicorn elsewhere!

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In all honesty, that seems like a pretty big cut for keeping salary. Am I right that you’d be at about 85% of hours but keep 100% salary? If you were to get a raise, would that be 15%? Am I missing something in the calculation? Everybody I know who has reduced hours had a comparable reduction in wages (and prorated bonus). Some say it’s worth it, others don’t think it is at all. It depends on whether your team/firm will respect your boundaries and reduced schedule.

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Great point. Here is how I'm looking at it: they're paying me roughly 85% of what I should be making. So I'm really looking for more competitive compensation but it's more important to downshift. Isn't it reasonable to ask for 15% less hours instead of 15% more pay? To me - I'd be locking in a lower rate if I reduce pay at the same rate as hours. However they may not see it that way.

I totally understand your points but I think this will be a tough sell. 300 less hours is a significant cut for the same pay; they likely won’t agree they are paying you under market.

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I do have the benefit of working for reasonable people who respect boundaries if I say I'm too busy for a project. It's not litigation style practice and we have that flexibility.

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