Review is coming up. How would you communicate that you are unhappy with your compensation? I am a consistent top billing (2000-2100 hrs, 1800 expected) and organization involved associate. I've recently found out that I'm making 20-30% less than associates with less years experience/involvement than me. I am loyal. I don't want to jump ship. I've been routinely contacted from other firms for more $$ and I've declined. How do I communicate this without being too aggressive and below board?

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I just dealt with this - got the raise - then lateraled anyway, so take this with a grain of salt (I didn’t want to have to advocate over and over) - but the convo actually went great. The key is to basically hype up how much you like it there, how appreciative you are, how great the partners have been as mentors, but then just say your working really hard, you want to earn your keep for sure, but you also have life goals you are working towards and you’d like to be considered for a compensation increase to be more in line with market !

likesmart

Yeah this was before Cooley! Cooley’s a lot of work but I love it tbh. Really happy I moved.

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“I am loyal.” That may be so, but your current firm doesn’t seem to value that the same way you do.

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Depending on the partner/manager in charge for you and your relationship, my experience has been: Be direct. I also agree with my colleague, that hyping the workplace up is a good idea, to not sound negative. But the simple truth is that you don’t get what you don’t demand (took me a few jobs to get that right). Another buzzword that Partners typically love to hear is “(fair) market value”. Because even if you don’t have a specific business case that you can tie your demands to, if you’re being paid below the level of comparable groups, then most managers can get behind that. Hope that helps.

likesmart

💯💯

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Why don’t you want to jump ship?

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I feel like I’m in a similar boat. Older 2nd yr associate who had adjacent industry experience. I billed annualized 2000 hrs (1850 expected) last year and got a 2.5% raise and $1000 bonus. This is a sophisticated boutique firm. If I get similar numbers next year that convo will be happening for me so thanks for asking the question.

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I think you did a good job here. Treat yourself as you would treat a client and advocate.

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Sounds like your firm is taking advantage of you and banking on the fact that you “don’t know” what other associates in your group/firm are making. This is why small firms and boutiques try so hard to maintain their “black box” of confidential compensation metrics. I would start looking for other positions to confirm what you could be making and then depending on if you want to stay at your current place, explain in your review that you are aware of such drastic compensation differences among the associates in your group and for x, y, and z reasons you deserve a raise of $[amount that would put you on equal footing].

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