Being able to assess your own value in an objective way is important when looking for new roles or improving your current role, as it places you in a much stronger position when assessing opportunities and negotiating with an employer.
You should always continually assess your own value within your firm and the context of the wider market, but you will find this process particularly useful in preparation for a pay review, appraisal or when exploring new opportunities.
In this blog, we are going to look at both assessing and increasing your value, to help you along in your legal career journey.
Assessing your value:
In assessing your value, you will feel like you are in a much stronger position when negotiating a salary increase or an initial salary for a new legal role. This is because anything you say will be backed up by evidence. This not only shows that you understand your value and the value you would bring to a role, but also that you have gone the extra mile to understand your worth and your negotiations should be taken seriously.
At the very least, it will require of the firm a more detailed and honest response that requires more thought and depth so that you can understand why they might not want to agree to your terms. At this point you can decide more clearly with all the information on what you decide to do next.
How to assess your value:
- Define your expertise – When you can clearly state your expertise and its associated value, you can have much clearer conversations with a potential employer or current employer, backed up by hard evidence. If you aren’t sure what the value of a particular strand of expertise, our vacancy listings may be able to help. To add more weight to your negotiation, make sure to have clear examples of when you have used that expertise and how it benefited you and the firm.
- Talk to a mentor or a recruiter – Mentors (which could be a trusted colleague or friend, or someone further up the ladder) can provide quality advice of their own experiences and quite often from both sides of the table. Each of our specialist recruiters has experience in negotiating salaries on behalf of lawyers every day, and with our ultra-niche approach each of our recruiters can provide tailored advice to your specific practice area.
- Compare the market – An easy way to assess your value is to check out our Salary Guide, which will enable you to evaluate your salary in relation to the wider market. Click this link to access our free, tailored practice area Salary Guide.
Increasing your value:
Now you have assessed your value, the next (and continuous) step is to increase your value.
Specialise – A simple rule of thumb is that scarcity adds value. By forming a new niche or developing an existing one, you can become a specialist within your practice area. For example, building up experience in advising businesses in a growing sector, such as healthcare, could increase your value to the market. Likewise, qualifying into a practice area with a talent shortage, such as Construction, will typically demand a higher salary. If you are unsure what specialist expertise is in demand in the market, have an informal chat with one of our team, who will be able to help. You can reach them on 03300 245 606.
Improve your skillset – A well-rounded lawyer always demands a higher value. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain both your technical and “soft” skills. We have created the Lawyers’ Path to Partnership blog series. In each blog, we delve into a skillset that is critical to the development of a successful legal career:
At Realm, we are passionate about helping lawyers have the most successful and fulfilling career possible, and are here for you even when you aren’t looking for a new role. If you are about to ask for a pay increase, speak to us for advice. Call us on 03300 245 606.