With Kristy Ellis, legal consultant, Randstad.
There can be a lot of frustration surrounding apparent salary inequity within firms. We often receive reports from unhappy lawyers who feel as though loyal employees are disadvantaged compared to new employees that have been lured in with higher salaries.
Whilst changing roles does allow you the opportunity to negotiate a higher base salary from the outset, in circumstances where you are otherwise happy in your position, there are probably alternative steps that should be taken first.
Do your research; talk to a specialist recruitment agency that understands your market and your likely value within it. You should also establish how your firm structures its pay i.e. internal, external or performance based. If your research indicates your current compensation is not fair, you are then in a credible position to negotiate an increase with your employer.
There is nothing wrong with changing positions if you feel you are not receiving fair treatment however, you should be careful to ensure any move is the right one for your overall career and life circumstances.
You should also bear in mind that future employers often take a dim view of those who "job hop" to the next high-paying position.