I Want Leverage


QI am a second-year associate working at a small boutique firm in a smaller market. For the most part, I enjoy my job and the people I work with. However, I need a raise and my boss keeps blowing me off. This has left me fairly bitter and willing to split the first chance I get.

Yesterday, I found out that another associate in our office who has the same amount of experience as me and is comparable in skill level got a written offer from another firm. He then leveraged to get a higher salary at our firm. While I’m bitter that the kid got a raise and I didn’t, I see an opportunity: obviously the firm that offered the other associate a job is looking, and they were willing to consider someone at my firm who is virtually identical to me. He clearly wasn’t supposed to tell me about his raise or the job, but I’m looking for opportunities wherever I can. So, my question is, do I contact the other firm and offer myself for the position? I expect them to see right through me and how I found out they were looking, but I need more money and opportunities are rare in this market.

AIf your goal is to create leverage, you obviously need another job offer. So, yes, contact the other firm. But be discreet. You might want to find someone to make the call for you. You don’t want to get rejected—or create a paper trail that might work against you. People smell desperation—and shameless, ham-fisted attempts at fake leverage—a mile away.

So if you want to pursue this opportunity, pursue it intelligently and seriously. The real question though is: Which firm has more long term upside potential? You don’t want to sell out long term success for a few thousand bucks.

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

6 Comments

  1. BL1Y

    August 2, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Using the exact same leverage that your coworker used isn’t going to fly well with either your current boss or your coworker.  When your coworker got the raise, your boss will probably feel like it was just a hard bargain. You come in looking to make the same deal, and he’s going to feel like if he gives it to you’ll see him as a pushover, and he’s going to assume your coworker tipped you off that the boss was ripe for a squeeze.

  2. V

    August 2, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Could you ask your co-worker to make the call for you? He turned down the position but probably doesn’t want to burn any bridges… it may be a good chance for both of you. He will get to stay friendly with the other firm despite turning them down and you could potentially get the job?

  3. quado

    August 2, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    What to say except… the long term is important, I will give that to EX-BL.  However, money talks son!

  4. Emma

    August 2, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    BL1Y is right, but if you must have leverage, get the goods on the partner; i.e., get a picture of him humping you or the paralegal or something along those lines.  But all in all, I do not think it is a good idea to try and pressure partners in a bad job market.  You’ll wind up with nothing other than your fingers up your rear-end.

  5. This blog sucks now

    August 2, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    This blog used to make above the law look like garbage.  Now, there’s 1 posting a day IF THAT, and its just some short crappy piece of advice like this one.  You people at bitter lawyer are a joke.  Either take this thing seriously or let it die.  This half ass bullshit is atrocious.  You won a webby for crying out loud.  This is the BEST that you can do????  Shameful.

  6. Anon

    August 3, 2010 at 6:19 am

    This Blog Sucks:  Why you hating, dawg?  these guys are obviously dealing with some money or people issues.  It’s not like you’re paying for this.  Consider it a gift.  Whiny ass entitled bitch!

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