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A blog with tips and insights into the practice of law

Negotiating your Salary Review

When I started thinking about this blog the first thing I did was to have a look at what other people had to say on the topic. What I discovered was a plethora of articles that told you how to prepare for a salary review, but very little in the way of advice on how to actually conduct the negotiation.

Of course it’s important to prepare for your salary review by getting a feel for the market and what you have brought to the table during the previous year – as every lawyer knows preparation is the first step to any successful negotiation. But having the right information alone is rarely going to lead to the best outcome for you or your employer.

The first thing to remember is that your salary review is a negotiation and it is your choice as to what negotiation style to adopt. In our professional lives we are often forced to adopt a competitive or compromising negotiation style to achieve our client’s objectives. These negotiation styles can be effective in the short term but we must not forget that they are founded on the principle that for one party to win, the other party must lose.

This is great if you never have to deal with the other party again, but if you want to maintain a long term relationship with your counterparty (your employer in this case), your objective should be a win-win outcome to the negotiation, and you are more likely to achieve this result by adopting a collaborative negotiation style.

The term collaboration can be defined in many ways, but in the context of negotiation my favourite definition is “consensus building”. Consensus does not mean unanimous consent, nor does it mean everyone’s preferred option, but it does mean decisions that everyone can support. Consensus is reached when each participant feels that their interests have been addressed in coming up with an outcome that everyone can live with.