Greedy Tip of the Week: How to Ask for a Raise

By George Khoury, Esq. on May 04, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Are you a hungry law clerk or associate? Do you consistently perform beyond expectations? Do you know that you are a highly valued member of the team?

Then what are you waiting for? If you want more money, all you have to do is ask, right? Below you can find three tips to help you ask for that raise.

Prepare for a Conversation

While the likelihood of there being negative repercussions if you ask for a raise in a professional manner are slim to none, if you're not prepared, the chances are closer to the slim side of that scale. Make yourself a list of all the reasons why you deserve a raise. These reasons can include things like seniority, good performance, or generating more revenue than expected. 

Then, find out what the compensation range is for your position and experience, both within your firm and generally in your region, for your area of practice and firm size. Knowledge is power.

Ask, Don't Extort

If you are happily employed, asking for more money may be rocking a boat that you don't want to rock. But if you want more money than the annual merit raise and bonus provide, hard work alone may not be enough. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, so if your employer doesn't know you're dissatisfied with the pay, you can't expect to get oiled. But bear in mind that a squeaky wheel still gets the job done, and if it doesn't get oiled, it can go bad, and eventually need to be entirely replaced.

So when you squeak out your request for more pay, don't use ultimatums, threats, dangle other job offers you already passed on, or other language that might put you in an adversarial position. If you can show that you're worth more based on your merits, you can at least start a conversation.

Don't Demand, Talk and Plan

If you storm into your boss's office demanding a raise, you're likely to get an adversarial response and rejection.

But, if you broach the subject as a conversation about whether and how you can be better compensated, you may be able to set objective goals with your boss that can take the guess work out of whether you get a raise down the road. For example, in certain settings, tying a pay increase to an attorney's increased revenue generation can work wonders for both firm and attorney. Note: if generating revenue isn't in your wheelhouse, try to ensure that another objective metric gets set that is actually attainable for you.

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