Promotion without a pay rise

Is this the norm? Is Covid-19 a fair excuse?

I've seen quite a few people get promotions on the same pay.  It gives the firm a bit of publicity by saying they've made up however many partners they have

Seems like a bum deal unless you’re already doing the work and getting the title will put you in a stronger position for pay bargaining? 

Depends what area you are in.

Is your dept. making it rain like a 90s gangsta rap video, or are you all hiding in a foxhole hoping it's not you who gets eaten next in the zombie apocalypse?

Think it's been common for a long time now for new partners not to get any pay rise at all in the first year, and actually to have lower overall comp (e.g. by losing pension contributions).

Firms rely on lawyers' typical 'deferred gratification' mindset, that allows the firm to keep stringing people along in the hope of making it a decent way up the equity.

And they will be able to get away with it more and more for the next few years due to bad market and the difficulty in doing BD to win new clients (existing relationships will be entrenched IMHO). 

An heh at the presumabilationess from uvvers wot you an they is partnuhs. U iz mugz wot is beholden to the cost of a sunk phallus.

I saw someone offered something like this after working exceptionally hard for years.  They gave them the middle finger, took a huge risk and resigned which management considered to be lunacy but seem to be doing pretty well now doing something a bit different. 

No and no, but the fact they’ve offered puts you in a difficult position. Take it and you’re a mug, doing extra for no pay, refuse it and you’re a troublemaker not pulling their weight. 
 

Mrs G had this, chose the latter and started to look for (and got) a new job. That’s what you should do. 

Possible exemption for being made up though tbf, provided you’re on track for decent cash in a year or two. 

Not sure why lawyers even contemplate this tbh. The worst is the move from associate to senior associate - you get your pay rise for being another year qualified but not to reflect the whole heap of extra shit you are expected to do.

As above, lawyers are mugs with their own careers and pay (generally).

This is normal in-house.  In fact they almost view it as you now owe them as they have given you a platform for personal growth. After about 3 years you should start to see bigger payrises as your ceiling gets raised if you do a good job.

You would take the promotion and immediately start looking for something else on the back of it wouldnt you.

Which is why its a great way of getting rid of dead wood.

This happens in lots of jobs - including once you are a partner of a law firm

If you're offered head of / global head of (or de facto appointed that) you typically get nothing else but you do get access to the inside info / an ability to pick and choose a bit more / you're seen as someone on the way up rather than a coaster. There's value in that unless you have a really thriving practice where your billings and relationships speak for themselves. 

Well I got promoted in April whilst on furlough just after the firm announced that there would be no pay reviews this year courtesy of vuvu.  Then got to go back to work on reduced pay after a while so I’d say promotion without a pay rise isn’t such a terrible deal in current circumstances.  

This is normal in-house.  In fact they almost view it as you now owe them as they have given you a platform for personal growth. After about 3 years you should start to see bigger payrises as your ceiling gets raised if you do a good job.
 

 

definitely not my experience in several in-house roles. Also not normal in nonlegal roles in companies either (and why would they treat their in-house lawyers any different to the other employees?) . Promotion = cash

Love all the internet bravado telling the OP that taking it would be a muggish thing to do. In this market, with a slew of redundancies in the offing, rejecting a promotion on the basis of no pay rise would be markedly stupid. Fair enough use it to get a new job or else have it recorded that a payrise is properly considered  next year - but rejecting it would be nonsensical. Career progression is more important than an extra few grand a year. 

Are you doing different work or have you just been given a new job title?

...and is it actually a meaningful promotion (ie associate -> partner and not FAOD anything with the words "senior", "special", "managing associate", "director" or "counsel" in it)?

I would accept this if it was salaried partner to bottom rung of EQT with genuine expectation of increase soonish 

no way if it was associate to senior / legal director. Uh uh 

I've moved to senior associate but reality is it's the same job just with a bigger target because they upped my hourly rate but largely irrelevant for fixed fee stuff.

When I got promoted to Special Bastard I got a Parker pen and my own slot on the firm’s bike rack.  Sure, my pay was the same, but people knew me, man.

Do you have to sit on one of those donut pillows Sailo?

To answer some of questions... It is solicitor to associate. Department figures slightly down on previous year but team/firm performing better than initially expected and have a strong pipeline. Small bonus but no pay rise until firm reviews all salaries next summer. 

Is it usual for this promotion to not carry a pay rise? I have worked in firms where solicitor to associate is a genuine promotion with increased in responsibilities and pay, and where it's a more or less automatic title change at a certain PQE 

 

If it the later I would suck it up. If the former I would probably suck it up but only if the pay review next summer gives a double bump up - the sol to associate rise and backdated for 12 months 

Oh well if you're an ASSOCIATE now, you should get a Jag, a busty seccie and Fridays off to play golf.

This is a good thread to bring out the money grabbers.  Given the way things looked in April I'm just glad to still be employed and if I have to wait another few months to finally get a pay rise then so be it as still time to end up jobless before then.  I certainly won't be demanding it's backdated for a year as that just makes you a redundancy target in a soft market on the basis the partners will think he's going to be demanding and difficult so let's use this chance to save ourselves some pain and cash.

Pay rise or I walk - principle innit - employers take the piss anytime they can. Some of you are on your second keg of cool-aid.

Saillaw with more money than half of Northern Europe in his bank account not bothered about money non shocker. 

Fail to understand any logic whatsoever in rejection. It’s a pretty meaningless promotion admittedly but a promotion nonetheless. Saying no makes you look like a prick internally and if you resign you’re trying to get a job in a swamped market. Makes no sense. Job hunt like a MF if you want but take the promotion. 

In these circs yes take it, there likely won’t be an appreciable increase in workload and you get the title. But it signals how they treat the staff imho so I’d be looking to move on. The managers in the firm will all know the arguments and how this makes people feel but they’re doing it anyway without any reassurances about jam tomorrow. 

heh at moo, if he walks he’ll probably still be unemployed at the end of next year

"ove all the internet bravado telling the OP that taking it would be a muggish thing to do. In this market, with a slew of redundancies in the offing, rejecting a promotion on the basis of no pay rise would be markedly stupid. Fair enough use it to get a new job or else have it recorded that a payrise is properly considered  next year - but rejecting it would be nonsensical. Career progression is more important than an extra few grand a year. "

I have been trotting this line out to my team all year as part of the management line. It's bullshit. You are being mugged off OP and although you shouldn't quit your job for nothing you should definitely start looking to leave as soon as possible. My guys should be earning 2-3 times what they are for the work they are expected to do but being too young to know any better they just keep sucking it up. The Stockholm syndrome in some of them is so bad they actually think they should be working harder. They are also ironically extremely greedy and grasping people which makes knowing this a lot less guilt inducing. Maybe they'll figure it out maybe not.

Happened to me this year. Firm policy says you need to be working at the promoted level for at least 18 months before you can apply for the promotion. I applied and was successful, but no pay rise due to Covid. I kicked up a fuss and eventually they gave pay rises to all promoted but they are insulting low and basically just so they can say they have given a pay rise - they don’t actually mean or recompense for the work and years up to this point. In the meantime they can charge 10 - 15% higher fees for my time.

Just leave for another firm/company; it's the only way to get decent rises honestly.

 

Moo I've spent all my money on building so there's not much left in the account these days and just mortgaged myself to pay off some short term lending to cover the building costs but still owe more.  Probably end up increasing the mortgage next year once I get my pay rise to pay some more of it off.  Currently laid off the builders for the winter so I can save up for six months to pay for the last odds and ends next summer.

but also what hoolie said - ime solicitor to associate usually = same job, slightly different badge, not getting it means look for another job but getting it doesn’t mean a lot. ymmv

Law firms are notorious for this shit. “ Let’s see how you go first, and we can review it in x months” what Canadian said . 
 

cant think of any other professional services firms do this nonsense . 

As a junior, you get good annual pay rises anyway.

To me, progression of job titles from solicitor > associate > senior associate is meaningless.

The only PP job title changes that matter are trainee > NQ associate > partner. Everything else is just one form of 'milk monitor' or another.

At the senior end, pay rises become pathetic. Compared to your value to the firm and the sh1t you have to deal with, the worst paid people in a law firm are very senior associates and new salaried partners.

Loads of new salaried partners at big, quality, profitable UK city firms will still be on less than an NQ at Kirkland or Latham.

Ebit EY don't let you speak at your own appraisal which is way more f*cked up than anything a law firm has ever done to me.  Your mentor makes a presentation to a panel to determine your annual performance review and shortly after the appraisals half the team asks to change mentor as theirs clearly didn't do a good enough job on their behalf.

Pay is only one aspect of remuneration. You need to also consider if the promotion comes with any other benefits - e.g.  share options, better pension, car allowance etc. 

At the senior end, pay rises become pathetic. Compared to your value to the firm and the sh1t you have to deal with, the worst paid people in a law firm are very senior associates and new salaried partners.

This is true.  I remember a junior partner telling me as a new NQ that my pay to value ratio was the highest in my favour than it would ever be again in my life.  He was right.

That is but a posh way of telling someone they ain't wurf the moolah.

 

I am not sure why the employee needs to say anything at the performance review other than perhaps to corect an objective error (if its a look back not a look forward). The performance is subjective - its in the eyes of those that matter and nothing you say at the appraisal will make a difference to how they view you - so it kind of makes sense that EY do it this way. Obviously there should be goal setting and targets set which does require interaction,

If there's no pay rise, there won't be any other benefits, not to you anyway.

Interestingly, I am likely about to get promoted to something reasonably chunky and intend to raise pay to see what happens. I will let The Board know.

What Wilfred said.  Secure the Bird in the hand and then look elsewhere

When you get promoted to Partner, you're then entitled to unsecured Partner loans from the likes of Braemar/Wesleyan at very good rates.  Most people I know who've been promoted to Partner say this is one of the standout benefits, as they tend to take on these loans for refurbishments, buy-to-lets, school fees, etc

What TT said.  Below partners level, your job title is pretty much meaningless outside your own firm. Depending on the repute of the firm, the partner hat and badge doesn't count for much either.

Quite right - it's Partner or Not Partner.  When my firm moved from Trainee - Assistant - Partner to Trainee/Junior Associate/Senior Associate/Of Counsel/Managing Associate/Partner, it was solely driven by Germans who saw power and importance in titles.  My contempt for the practical sense of German lawyers increased.

Parsnip the panel what made up of a selection of partners from outside your practice area.  The panel I had had no idea who I was as I'd never worked on anything with any of them so my performance for the year was assessed purely on the basis of their view of what my mentor had to say about me.  It's meant to be wholly objective but if you get a mentor who decides you're a future threat or the like they can do a good job of swinging things against you which doesn't seem very fair.

Not sure that would have been a worry in your case m8.

Especially as I'd already made up my mind by then that I'd be leaving not long after the appraisal.

In short, if that is the position you are in, leave.  Another company will pay you more and value the work you do.  Loyalty is rarely financially rewarded, and if the shoe were on the other foot, they'd drop you in less than a heart beat.

If they are charging you out for more cash, i would expect a pay rise in the circumstances you describe. 

This thread title reminds me of the Burnley song on athletico mince:

Effort without reward

exhaustion without pleasure

and that’s the Burnley way

 

I wouldn't say it's normal not to get some benefits from being promoted in-house.

If you work in an organisation which has bands or titles, if you move up the band you usually get a bigger annual bonus (i.e. it will be a greater percentage of your base) and more equity.

I've been offered derisory increases in base pay following a promotion followed the promise to level up (which invariably doesn't happen). If that happens you can bide your time and point out how your salary is in no way reflective of the market or your peers on the same band