Law Absolute - Recruitment specialists

How to negotiate the best legal salary

30th April 2014

When many first look into their future careers as a lawyer, part of the main appeal is a sustainable wageWhen many first look into their future careers as a lawyer, part of the main appeal is a sustainable wage. Being a lawyer holds many alluring factors as a profession; it offers the chance to make a difference in the world of right and wrong, but it also often means there is less of a need for a salary calculator as the hard work is reflected in a well-balanced pay packet.

This guide offers advice and tips on how to negotiate the best starting salary at your new job for that of Newly Qualified solicitor jobs, students looking to embark on their career and experienced lawyers about to start a new role, ensuring that your pay and workload best matches that of your skillset.


Before embarking on a negotiation, it is important to do your research to ensure your aims are realistic. Those who have found their role through a legal recruitment agency in London will be in a better position to understand their market as these agencies will often have salary surveys for you to browse through and get acquainted with today’s expected salaries in the City. It is also possible to speak with a legal recruitment agency about your lawyer salary expectations and the best way to achieve such goals.

Pay is often dependent on a number of factors, so bear these points in mind when it comes to researching the result you expect from a salary calculator.

  • Your experience

The more experience you have in your chosen field, the more pay you can generally expect to receive, so New Qualified lawyers and graduates have to be realistic about their starting pay.

  • The firm

Pay is often dependent on the firm. Look at what other firms at a similar level are offering before drawing up salary expectations. It is also important to consider pay in relation to what type of role you are entering into as in-house legal jobs in London will secure an entirely different wage to that of locum solicitors or private practice.

  • Before embarking on a negotiation, it is important to do your research to ensure your aims are realisticLocation

Like other professions, pay is often dependent on location and cost of living in a certain area. Speak with a legal recruitment agency in your chosen area to gain a feel for expected salaries in certain areas of the country.

What to say

Or what not to say, as the case may be, as many employers may push to discuss salary early to see who they can afford to hire. Even if this happens, you should try to avoid talking salary early so that they gain a feel for your skills and experience and want to hire you before stating how much you expect to be paid. Try to avoid discussing salary at interview stage until you have a job offer and, if your interviewer presses you, try getting around it by asking them what kind of salary range they are working with, or similar.


It is very important to sell your skills when discussing pay with a new employer as you want to make it clear that they are getting their money’s worth in awarding you your desired salary. Consider what salary you would want to work for and the bare minimum before you go in to negotiate, remembering it should be higher than what you worked for previously.


Finally, when it comes to the actual negotiation of an appropriate solicitor salary for your specific skills and experience, be sure to go in with the right attitude. Not only will being friendly and open to compromise put you in better stead for attaining the salary you desire, but it will also put you on the right footing with your new employer.

Be assertive but not aggressive in your approach and try using facts and even a salary calculator to suggest the level of pay that would make it worth your while taking the role.

Know any other helpful tips for securing the best starting salary as a lawyer? Share them on the LAW Absolute Facebook page.

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