How flattering. They want you to stay and they are willing to pay! While the offer of extra money is enticing, you need to step back and assess your underlying motivations.
Why did you want to leave your current position in the first place? Did you want more autonomy and a new challenge? Were you unhappy with your colleagues or the partner you worked with? Were you unhappy with the type of work you were doing or the amount of work you received? Did you feel that there was little chance of career progression? Did you want more flexibility and work/life balance?
It may be a combination of reasons. However, money is rarely the sole reason for wanting to leave your current position. If you haven’t already done so, assess you motivations for leaving. Write down and analyse your motivations, your strengths and your weaknesses, as well as what you want to do and where you want to be in the future. Work out whether leaving is the right option for you. Regardless of the amount of analysis you complete, leaving a law firm is not easy and it is an emotional process. Try to inject some intellect into your decision-making process.
Our experience is that people who accept counter-offers from their firm and only stay for an increased salary do not tend to stay for very long. For most, the underlying issue still remains. Accepting a job for salary only can be a band-aid solution. If you do decide to reject the counter-offer from your firm, then take a long-term view and be tactful. The legal industry is small and people talk. You can leave on your own terms and still be on good terms. You never know when you might next cross paths with a previous employer or work colleague.
Taking the leap and leaving can be exciting, challenging and rewarding. Having an awareness of your underlying motivations for wanting to leave will help you make the right decision for you. Tactfully dealing with your employer will ensure that doors are always open to you in the future.