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When seeking employment in the limited legal market that exists today, associates are looking for more than just competitive pay, but negotiating may be a frightening prospect. Negotiating a job offer tends to focus on monetary terms, like pay, bonuses, and vacation, and often non-monetary benefits get neglected, or are assumed to be inflexible.
But, like most things in life, if you don't ask, you'll never actually know what options are available. And remember, once you get that offer in hand, you know they want you, so don't be afraid to ask for more (just don't make an ultimatum you don't actually want to follow through on).
Below, you can read about some of the more important non-monetary benefits that might be worth negotiating at the offer stage.
If you're personal life isn't hectic, more likely than not, that'll change at some point. Responsibilities and personal obligations can easily get in the way of your normal work day. As such, firms that allow associates to have some level of autonomy to set their own hours, or have some flexibility, are likely to have a happier workforce. So if you want to be happy, ask for at least a little flex time.
With how technologically advanced some law practices are, there is almost no reason to not allow associates to work from anywhere, at least some of the time. Work from home, or telecommuting, policies are particularly attractive to workers with children, and/or long commutes.
While mentorship and training may not sound like a benefit, nearly every lawyer that has even worked in a subordinate capacity knows that a little on the job mentorship and training can go a long way. The "trial by fire," "sink or swim" method of on the job training is generally associated with lower retention rates and making attorneys feel miserable, confused and frustrated.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, at some firms, the opportunity to advance is, in and of itself, a benefit. At firms that have clearly labeled positions that are partner-track, or non-partner track, you may not think to ask whether there are other opportunities to advance, or change tracks.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.