It’s no secret that women’s pay in the legal profession lags behind that of men. This inequality persists even if you compare law firms of the same size and field of activity in the same geographic location. Many factors play a role, from the persistent belief that women are less likely to support families to subconscious biases that lead managers to less favorably value the work product of their female employees – and the pandemic has done it only exacerbated the problem. Traditional networking arenas like the golf course or happy hour are historically male, which means women go into salary negotiations without knowing what their male colleagues are doing. This also leads to a resource gap: If women are not in the room while their colleagues share business connections and customer contacts, they cannot use this network for information and resources.
What can you do when you are a lawyer who feels underpaid? These seven strategies will help you prepare for success in salary negotiations in a new company or in your current position.
Recognize the second generation gender bias. We view gender bias as external, but it can also have an impact when women internalize the idea that women are nicer and less aggressive so that they don’t stand up for themselves. Examine Your Inner Narrative – What’s Stopping You From Demanding More?
Hack your own goodwill. Studies show that women are more willing to stand up for others than for themselves. Trick your brain – tell yourself that you are asking for a raise on behalf of a friend or loved one.
Ask for more each time. Studies show that men are more likely to negotiate an initial offer, which means that a male and female lawyer in the same firm who received the same offer may still be unequal. When increases are offered, this dynamic repeats itself so that the differences worsen from year to year. Don’t let a year go by without asking for a raise.
Conduct a competitive analysis. Identify similar companies in your area or in similar fields by size and area of activity. Objectively present this information to your manager, but hold firm for what you deserve. glass door is your friend!
Internalize a leadership identity. Law firms want you to take responsibility. Meet for an informal lunch to discuss issues in your company. Start a committee to address a problem. Convening a meeting to revive a dormant project. Act purposefully towards an end goal with a clear benefit that is greater than yourself – and then document your successes for you to share during the negotiations.
Make the business case for yourself. Your manager wants to do the best for the company, which means you have to convince them that what you ask will benefit the company. Identify the actions you’ve taken to support business growth, such as: B. to increase the efficiency of workflows or to win new customers. Make sure you have an accurate assessment of your performance – hours billed, sales earned, hours spent on pro bono work, articles published, number of hours Speak lectures.
Prepare in advance. Gather all of your information – competitive analysis, your posts and achievements, and what your plans are for the next year – and write it down. You may even want to create a short memo or slide deck to share with your manager. If you put it down in writing, you will feel more secure when you walk into the room.
At the end of the day, remember: the worst scenario is that your request will be denied! Although women are socialized to believe that they shouldn’t bargain too hard for fear of appearing overly aggressive, most companies won’t punish you for standing up for yourself. (And if you do – run.)
For more information, see Creating a level playing field: gender equality and negotiation strategies.
This article was originally published on March 10, 2020
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