In our Careers Clinic, we hand over to you, our community, to send in a question on career progression.
This month, Associate Consultant Michaela Baddeley gives her advice to a childcare lawyer wondering how to make sure they’re being paid the right salary for their level of experience.
Since qualifying four years ago, I have been working at my current firm and I really enjoy it. As a childcare lawyer, I find the work rewarding.
I’ve received small pay rises every year since joining the firm, but I am unsure if my salary is competitive compared to other solicitors at my level. How do I know if I am being paid enough?
“It’s great to hear that you enjoy working as a childcare lawyer and find your work stimulating. It’s important to feel intellectually rewarded at work, but it’s equally important to be paid fairly for the unique skills and experience you bring to the table. Nearly three-quarters of lawyers said that interesting work was a priority for them, but being valued and paid fairly is just as crucial.
Assessing your salary involves several steps. First, consider your qualifications, experience, and location. Your level of experience and qualifications as a childcare lawyer, as well as any professional accreditations such as those from Resolution or Law Society, can influence your salary. Salaries can also vary depending on where you work; for example, in the North West salaries are higher in some practice areas than they are in Yorkshire.
Secondly, think about what else you bring to the table. Do you have specialist experience in a particular niche of childcare law, such as adoption or special guardianship orders? Do you have a track record of cultivating beneficial professional relationships with referrers or other influential people within the community? All these factors increase your value and earning potential.
Thirdly, research industry standards. Look up average salaries for childcare lawyers with your level of experience. You can get an idea of the typical market rate by checking out our Family Law Salary Guide or contacting our specialist legal recruitment team for a confidential conversation.
Fourthly, evaluate your job satisfaction and benefits. While salary is important, it’s also crucial to consider other aspects of your job, such as work-life balance, professional development opportunities, and benefits packages. Once you understand the market rate for a childcare lawyer with your level of experience, consider whether your current compensation aligns with the overall value you receive from your firm.
If you find that your salary is in line with the market rate, that’s great! However, if you realize that your pay isn’t competitive, you may want to raise this with your manager at your next appraisal or set up a separate meeting to discuss a potential pay rise. If you don’t get the outcome you were hoping for, seek advice from a legal recruiter who can guide you on your next steps, which may include a market overview and opportunities elsewhere where you’ll be paid more fairly.”