How To Ask for a Raise — And Get It


By Jamy J. Sullivan, JD, Robert Half


I love my job, coworkers and law firm, and I’ve worked hard since I was hired. Now that the job market has gotten so competitive, I’d like to leverage my position as an in-demand professional to ask for a raise. How do I approach my boss about it?



Requesting a raise can be nerve-wracking, but there’s never been a better time to do it. Top legal talent is scarce right now, so if you’re a strong, experienced performer, your firm won’t want to lose you. Here are some things to consider — and prepare — before approaching your boss about a pay raise.


Research salary data  

Don’t enter a salary negotiation without a target figure in mind. Use trusted resources like the Robert Half Salary Guide to benchmark what legal professionals with your job title, skill set and years of experience are earning nationwide and in your region. 

Gather supporting evidence 

It’s law 101: the more evidence you provide, the stronger your case will be. For example, if you went the extra mile during the pandemic, why not center your argument around that? Note down extra assignments or responsibilities you’ve taken on, and provide certificates for the continuing legal education and professional development courses you’ve completed. Glowing thank-you notes from clients and colleagues should also go in the evidence docket. In short, do anything you can to remind your boss that the firm is more successful with you than it would be without you. 

Be strategic in your timing 
The when of asking for a raise can be just as important as the how. Don’t approach your boss about a salary increase if they’re about to go on vacation or your firm has just lost a major client. On the other hand, if you were instrumental in winning a big case, take advantage of the good timing to request your pay bump. If you’re on a hybrid work schedule, make sure you have this meeting in person rather than via videoconference, as full body language and intent can get lost through a screen. 

Be open to other perks 
No matter how meticulously you prepare your case, the ruling may not be in your favor. Decide in advance what else to ask for in the event of a no. For example, the pandemic has shown that employees can be productive at home, so you may want to take advantage of that and ask for a more flexible work schedule. 
In the current economy, legal managers are keenly aware that they need to reward their top performers to keep them on board. But sometimes they still need to be convinced. Who better to do that than a legal professional? So prepare your arguments and make the case for your raise. 

Jamy J. Sullivan is executive director of the legal practice at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. Robert Half offers contract, temporary and permanent placement solutions, and is the parent company of Protiviti®, a global consulting firm. Visit