Asking for a Raise and Promotion

Our firm hasn’t given out salary increases to legal support staff in more than two years. Now that business is picking up, I’d like to ask for a raise and maybe a promotion to senior paralegal. What’s the best way to approach my boss?

That’s a great question, and we can understand why you ask. According to Robert Half’s Confidence Mattersreport, employees surveyed said they’d rather clean the house (32 percent), get a root canal (7 percent) or look for a new job (13 percent) than ask for a raise. To keep this common fear from stalling your career, here are some tips for boosting your paralegal salary.

  1. Report your accomplishments.
    If you haven’t already, list your achievements that occurred during the “no raise” period. Maybe you’ve helped automate processes that freed up previously non-billable time. Perhaps your work on new systems has received kudos. If you have a performance review with metrics, pull out your last one and note where you exceeded expectations. Whenever possible, estimate how much time and money you’ve saved the firm.
  2. Research the average paralegal salary.
    Withstarting salaries for legal jobs anticipated to increase by 3.1 percent in the coming year, it could help to consult the most recent Robert Half Legal Salary Guide to determine where you fall on the paralegal salary scale.Since professionals joining a firm may enter at a variety of experience levels, the Salary Guide reports salaries in ranges.
  3. Plan your approach.
    Practice your pitch (with a friend or mirror) to build up your confidence. Also, pick the right time. Don’t ask for a higher salary when your boss is about to leave for vacation, just came back from parental leave or is in the middle of a massive case. Rather, act shortly after you score a big win or major professional achievement.

With hiring heating up, firms know top legal employees have options. So take advantage of the opportunity and ask for a higher paralegal salary and promotion. After two years without a raise, you certainly deserve one, and you just may get that promotion, too.