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Tiff’s Top Tips for Young Lawyers

Tiff’s Top Tips for Young Lawyers

After a short hiatus, I’m back with some more handy advice for junior lawyers – with this month’s Tiff’s Top Tips being a step by step guide on how to handle annual/salary reviews!

1. Set a date

The first thing to address is that not all firms will provide an opportunity to discuss your performance and/or salary, and so it shouldn’t be assumed that an annual review discussion will necessarily take place. If you are unsure of your firm’s process, it would be worthwhile approaching a trusted advisor (e.g. senior associate or partner) to understand the best way to arrange such a meeting.

However, many firms are very structured and organised, with a fixed process in place. Make sure you’ve got the allocated review time slot locked in your diary and have given yourself ample time to prepare.

2. Set yourself up to win

Before any review, it’s important to take some time to reflect on how you have performed over the past 12 months and be ready to discuss this openly. Some key questions to reflect on are: How have I tracked against my billable targets, goals or other KPIs? Have I consistently sought and implemented feedback? What have I learnt and achieved that has demonstrated my growth and contribution to the team?

Make sure to note down any wins (e.g. successful matter outcomes, client/matter referrals) as these will come in clutch when you reach step 4, but be honest enough with yourself to acknowledge any shortcomings. Whilst you’re probably a rock star junior lawyer, you’re only human after all.

Then get familiar with some salary data. When considering salary data it is important to ensure you are looking at data that is relevant to not only your firm-type and post-admission level, but also your practice area. Our new 2022 Salary Guide is the first and last place you will need to visit!

3. Set any expectations

To minimise any risk of disappointment, my best advice is to have a pre-emptive chat before the real review discussion to set and understand expectations on both sides with your partner. The key is to approach this with an open mind and be receptive to any pointers or feedback they may provide, particularly if there is any work to be done on your side to help improve your chances of a successful review.

4. Set out your case

When the day finally comes to have your review, remember to communicate your case clearly in relation to your achievements, what areas that you’re keen to work and improve on, and your salary expectations. If you’ve carried out the previous steps, then you’ll be well placed to respond to any pushback and keep the discussion focused on the issues that really matter. That being said, not all such meetings will go according to plan, so try to avoid getting involved in defensive back and forth and concentrate instead on understanding what, if anything, you can do better prepare for the next review meeting.

Either way, preparation is the key to a successful salary and performance review.

For specific advice and strategies on how to approach your upcoming annual review, feel free to contact me or someone from the Monty team.

Tiffany Tirtabudi

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