Does anyone mind telling me what a new fixed-share partner in a City law firm earns?

(155 Posts)
AmongTheNarcissi Mon 10-Feb-14 11:11:45

Not really AIBU (although maybe a bit unreasonable to ask friends and relations...)

I am a senior associate in a mid-tier City firm. 7 years PQE, IP specialism. Currently earn £102 000. Pay for associates in my firm is generally thought to be on the low side. I am going through the partner selection process at the moment and am hopeful of being offered fixed-share partnership soon. At which point I will have to negotiate my renumeration package from what I feel is a position of weakness as I have no idea of the norm. I have no good friends who are partners yet and can't ask colleagues (or at least they can't tell me). Online salary surveys are hopelessly vague.

If anyone is able to share their experiences of salary negotiation and what a reasonable sum might be, I would be very grateful!

thesaurusgirl Mon 10-Feb-14 20:35:44

I'm heading home now but something everyone should know: a headhunter will charge 10%-15% of your annual salary to replace you with an external candidate. Anything you ask by way of pay rise will be cheap by comparison.

Suzietwo Mon 10-Feb-14 20:39:48

I'd be surprised if mid tier were paying more than 150k. Also consider whether salaried partner actually does anything for you. Eg what rights will you be giving up (mat leave). I'd expect you to be offered around 130?

Rof won't help you at all. One meeeeelion dolla netnet

eurochick Mon 10-Feb-14 20:41:14

OP, at my firm (US) I believe the junior partners get around 200k, but they are rather more senior than you (probably around 15 pqe). You are doing very well to be looking at partnership at all at 7 years out. I reckon the 120-170k range sounds about right.

There was a partner salary survey that rollonfriday did doing the rounds a year or so ago - it might be worth trying to track that down?

I believe transparency on salaries is a good thing. In a massive data protection fuck up, a load of salary info was wildly circulated at my place a while ago. It told me that a guy who used to be my trainee and was billing about half what I was, was paid just 2k less. I was livid. I had no idea. The penis premium can be high and we have no idea unless women talk more openly about salaries.

Good luck with your negotiations.

wandymum Mon 10-Feb-14 20:41:46

ThesaurusGirl - really surprised by that and certainly not my experience. I suppose it depends very much on the firm - I'm not MC but certainly in the tier immediately below it. And of course, you won't have come across people who've progressed easily from salary to equity because they probably don't want to change jobs wink.

Woebegone - agree that to some extent this discussion is missing the point. Becoming a partner is becoming an owner of the business and you should look at it that way even if you are only talking about salaried partnership (certainly the firm will be looking for that when deciding whether to make you up to equity). It is almost like taking on an extra job- managing staff, setting financial targets and budgets, loads more marketing and business development .....plus doing actual law.

noviceoftheday Mon 10-Feb-14 20:47:18

Eurochick, I am not surprised you were livid. Do they publish bands at all?

Just to support you in posting the question. We should as women be able to discuss money and ask questions like this. Good luck to you. I'd love to know if you get what you ask for. I'm hoping so. X

If you can't take it, or wish to sneer then I for one think you are probably a fool.

thesaurusgirl Mon 10-Feb-14 20:57:09

If I had candidates who progressed easily from salaried to equity I wouldn't be living in Zone 3, that's for sure grin. Yes, my experiece is skewed towards candidates on edge, but half my job is courting the employers, and times are tough. Making a case for equity just now is almost impossible - from where do you find the new business for a start?

Euro The reason I'm a headhunter is because, in my first job, my deskmate who was hired on the same day as me negotiated a 25% pay rise after 4 months. I only found out because I started dating him. I was such a silly little girl I thought you had to be working for a year before you could even ask for a fraction of that. The working and the personal relationship ended, but I learned my lesson aged 22!

Shit, I have to go home. Presentee-ism taken to a ridiculous extreme on MN tonight wink.

DrMaybe Mon 10-Feb-14 21:12:16

'Penis premium' - I've never heard it referred to that way, but i shall remember that!

bearleftmonkeyright Mon 10-Feb-14 21:51:48

"Ignore the haters on Mumsnet, very few of them are net contributors to the economy, just remind them who's paying for their childcare vouchers and tax credits."

This comment has pissed me off immeasurably. I have no problem with anybody asking anything, but previous posters questioning why were not hating, just asking why you wouldn't ask on a more specialized forum? Anyway, as you were, <doffs cap to thesaurusgirl for paying my tax credits>hmm

NotPrincessAnne Mon 10-Feb-14 21:58:59

I'd actually like to thank the OP for starting a frank discussion about this, as others have said it's such an opaque area. I left the partnership track at a MC firm a few years ago as part of a plan to start a family and, two children later, have been thinking about whether I should return to private practice (I moved to a City-relevant in-house role). It's been very useful learning that I'd probably not end up a greater deal better off for what would be a massive switch in my work-life balance - I may stay put for a bit longer!

eurochick Mon 10-Feb-14 22:14:24

novice they publish no salary info at all. On purpose at least.

I had a similar situation earlier on in my career thesaurus - the chap who joined just after me negotiated a 5k pay hike shortly afterwards. It had never occurred to me to do something like that.

bluebirdlady Mon 10-Feb-14 23:14:28

At my firm (top 50, not London), you would be on about £130k. I would imagine one would earn more in the City.

However OP, considering you can't spell remuneration (the n and m is unlikely to be a typo IMHO) , and you have no friends who are partners (how long have you worked there?!) you're unlikely to be successful.

OP well done for asking the question and being prepared to display ambition openly.

I often think that MN reacts badly to discussions with/about female high earners and that this both reflects and perpetuates society's discomfort with ambitious women in positions of power.

The more we talk about money, unseemly though it is hmm the more awareness there will be of these opportunities. Transparency has to be a good thing, no?

New salaried partners at my mid-city firm are on IIRC about £110-120k plus bonuses.

bearleftmonkeyright Tue 11-Feb-14 00:10:19

It is one thing to show ambition, I have no problem with op. It is another to sneer at those who do not have such earning potential and rely on tax credits. But who am I to get in the way of all the self congratulatory back slapping on this thread?

HuntingforBunting Tue 11-Feb-14 00:32:50

Transparency is only a good thing. Good luck op, let us know how it goes.

Dolcelatte Tue 11-Feb-14 05:51:18

I would expect the firm to publish its accounts to all partners, including fixed share/salaried, including partner distributions and current accounts. Why don't you ask them for the previous years accounts, particularly if you are being asked to invest money in the business.

And as one poster has said, there is likely to be a lot more required of you for the extra wedge. Law, like other sectors, is now much more demanding generally and less well remunerated than previously. It is also risky in a way that it didn't used to be and there have been a number of firms going into administration over the last few years - most recently, Linder Myers. The US firms and the MC firms are still doing fine but the mid tier firms and some of the smaller ones are struggling, as you will be aware. If you go onto Legal Week, the Lawyer or Roll on Friday, there is a lot of information which may be useful, including details of average profits earned per equity partner (PEP).

However, the PEP info does have to be treated with a bit of caution; they are a bit like OFSTEAD tables, in that they can be manipulated. After I left my previous firm and received my last share of profits, I concluded that it had been an especially bad year, as the profits were down about 20-25% against budget and I didn't even receive my return on capital invested in the business. I later queried the figures after reading in the PEP league tables that the figures were considerably higher, but was advised that this was for end of year financial adjustments after the accounts had been finalised....! Also, members are now required to invest £500k in the business, which amounts to a fair amount of risk, especially at an average return of £200-£275k for a London equity member in a large national firm, before payment of interest on loans, expenses and higher rate tax.

So OP, congrats on your progress, but you are right to query the financial position and to go into it with your eyes open!

AmongTheNarcissi Tue 11-Feb-14 05:54:30

bluebirdlady I can't spell renumeration not because I am thick or an incompetent lawyer but because I am a bit dyslexic- it has never held me back but thanks for your thoughtful insight.
I have worked there since I qualified, 7 years, have many friends there and understand that I am very likely to be successful.

Thanks for all the positive messages on this thread I am off to work!

bearleft I agree with you about that comment. My observation was aimed at the other posters who had commented on the OP negatively.

But then again bearleft, that was one comment, in one post by one poster. You describe the whole thread as "self-congratulatory"; clearly, there is a broader issue.

I do not think that we should be ashamed of congratulating the OP for achieving a significant career success at a relatively low PQE, in an environment largely controlled by men. She has done well.

littleredsquirrel Tue 11-Feb-14 08:33:08

PEP figures are practically useless since as another has said you simply don't know what the equity investment was. I was an equity partner (fixed share) DH is a full equity partner. My best friend is also an equity partner. All three firms paid completely differently and all required different stakes. I was quite happy with my little stake since with both of us being equity we didn't want to carry the extra risk. DH's stake is just at the level I'm comfortable with. We wouldn't be homeless if it all went pear shaped. Best friend is now in for considerably more than the value of her nice four bed house which is scary since her drawings are comparable to DHs.

You don't want equity unless you are very comfortable with the financial position of your firm and the level of risk you are taking on. One firm locally to me is giving away equity stakes left right and centre simply to bring in the cash.

bearleftmonkeyright Tue 11-Feb-14 08:34:48

Yes Mrs Noodlehead, but I counted two other posters who questioned the validity of posting here. They hardly dominated the thread also. Thesaurusgirls clearly informed posts dominated much of the discussion but you are the only poster to have denounced what she said. If you are a business owner at the top your game professionally you will have people working for you who claim tax credits. That is a fact and they contribute to the success of your business and deserve as much respect as anyone else.

theincrediblealfonso Tue 11-Feb-14 08:40:25

OP, I only clicked onto this thread to ooh and ahh about the wages that would be mentioned grin! Was surprised to see some people being needlessly nasty, no idea what that's about. Just wanted to wish you good luck with it all.

LittleBearPad Tue 11-Feb-14 08:44:58

And the OP has not said anything about tax credits whatsoever.

There were snarky comments about this not being a parenting issue or not suitable for mumsnet. Why not, most topics aren't anything to do with parenting on this site. There are all sorts of people posting here.

FanjoForTheMammaries Tue 11-Feb-14 08:46:13

I cant help. .but ignore the obviously jealous people.

wordfactory Tue 11-Feb-14 08:46:37

dolce whilst a firm would usually let all partners know what other partners earned, the OP isn't yet of course a partner.

And I think partners may be uncomfortable with those outside the partnership knowing what's what.

It might also be that salaried partners are treated similarly to senior associates with regard to comp and information and general involvement in the ownership/running of the firm.. Given the OP is only 7 ypqe, I'm suspecting that might be the case.

DH's firm has always treated salaried partnership as the first step. And these partners, though taking no risk, are still expected to play a proper role. However, they recently took over a mid tier firm who had salaried partners coming out of their ears. Clearly most were glorified senior associates and treated no differently.

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