in Changing Jobs, Interviews

Job Offers – Sticking or Twisting

Negotiation with some firms is like a gunfight at OK Corral!

It can be great fun dealing with firms and candidates when it comes to job offers being made by firms.

Some firms make good, competitive offers, which any sensible candidate would accept, and other firms make low, slave wage level offers, which only someone quite desperate to either work or be at that firm would accept.

Sometimes, firms offer money which candidates come back on and reject, despite it being a massive increase for them (we once had a newly qualified commercial property solicitor turn down an increase of £15,000 once on a £25k salary, on the basis that they thought they were worth more…!). I have also had a firm make an offer which could only be described with the word “derisory” and the candidate accepted it, despite our strong advice to avoid – that candidate is still at the firm, desperately trying to get the partners to increase the salary to something closer to the market rate.

How do you go about negotiating? Firstly work out your bottom line, secondly factor in how much you like or dislike the firm, consider the perks and benefits – locality, annual leave etc.. and thirdly make an assessment as to whether you think the firm will go with you or against you on the request. Will it be held against you? Only once you have thought things through will you be able to decide to stick or twist!

Always have a bottom line and do not reveal this if you can help it. Do not let your pride come into the process. So many candidates fail to differentiate between what they are actually looking for and the need to “win” the negotiation.

Author: Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment ( – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us!  Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant, author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us at

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at