Associate Attorney Salary

The average Associate Attorney in the United States earns approximately $67K annually. In the world of Associate Attorneys, total cash compensation ranges from $45K on the lower end to $128K on the higher end; this includes bonuses that reach $15K and profit sharing that approaches $12K in rare cases, with some high rollers snagging commissions as high as $36K. This group's pay is mainly influenced by geography, followed by career length and the specific company. Health benefits are not claimed by all — between a fifth and a fourth lack any form of coverage — but a strong majority have medical insurance, and slightly less than half have dental, too. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Men make up a slight majority of Associate Attorneys (52 percent) who responded to the survey. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$44,442 - $120,985
(Median)
$44K
$67K
$120K
MEDIAN: $67,111
10%
50%
90%

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$15.80 - $53.72
(Median)
$16
$28
$54
MEDIAN: $28.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$44,442 - $120,985  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $15,060  
Profit Sharing
$400.00 - $12,434  
Commission
$192.19 - $36,065  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$45,111 - $128,135  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 4,638
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$15.80 - $53.72  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $71.02  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $15,060  
   
Commission
$192.19 - $36,065  
Profit Sharing
$400.00 - $12,434  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$45,111 - $128,135  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 197
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Job Description for Associate Attorney

Associate attorneys are lawyers who usually have a minimal amount of experience in the field. Many are just out of law school and developing their careers. Associate attorneys typically start out under the guidance of an experienced attorney, assisting with cases and writing reports. After gaining experience, associate attorneys can move up in the ranks of a law firm and start taking on their own clients, and acting as the lead attorney in cases. Associate attorneys essentially do the same job as a regular attorney, and also have other responsibilities such as researching legal information, writing legal briefs and preparing legal documents. Associate attorneys may also take part in jury selection, advising clients, negotiating with outside colleagues, and helping to argue a case in court. Associate attorneys work for their law firms as employees and are not considered partners, nor do they have any ownership in the firm. Their time in a position at a law firm is a valuable opportunity to build their contact list and create a network that they can use throughout their career.

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Associate Attorney Tasks

  • Gather evidence to formulate defense or to initiate legal actions; evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments for presentation of cases.
  • Analyze and interpret laws, rulings and regulations with probable case outcomes for individuals and businesses.
  • Represent clients in court or before government agencies, present and summarize cases to judges and juries.
  • Advise clients in business transactions, claim liablility, advisability of prosecuting or defending lawsuits or legal rights and obligations.
  • Select jurors, argue motions, meet with judges and question witnesses during the course of a trial.

Common Career Paths for Associate Attorney


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Associate Attorneys who go on to become Law Firm Partners may see their salaries climb quite a bit. Median pay for Law Firm Partners is $203K annually. It is quite typical for Associate Attorneys to transition into roles as Attorneys or Associate Attorneys at Law Firms, where reported median earnings are $11K and $4K higher per year.

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Popular Skills for Associate Attorney


Associate Attorneys seem to wield many skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Intellectual Property, litigation, and Complex Litigation Case Management are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 53 percent, 17 percent, and 13 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Bankruptcy, Spanish Language, and Technical Writing. For most people, competency in Client Interaction indicates knowledge of Litigation Case Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Associate Attorney

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Associate Attorneys — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $65K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $92K on average — a distinctly larger sum. Associate Attorneys see a median salary of $96K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Veterans who have surpassed the 20-year mark may make only slightly more than those who are navigating the mid-career stage; the more senior group reports median earnings of around $97K.

Pay Difference by Location


For Associate Attorneys, busy Washington offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 70 percent above the national average. Associate Attorneys can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+43 percent), New York (+26 percent), Houston (+21 percent), and Los Angeles (+20 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Chicago, 5 percent below the national average.

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Experience Affects Associate Attorney Salaries




National Average
$69,000


Skills That Affect Associate Attorney Salaries


litigation
up arrow 17%




Legal Compliance
up arrow 3%

National Average
$69,000

Litigation Case Management
up arrow 1%

Negotiation
up arrow 3%

Legal Research
up arrow 4%

Legal Document Review
up arrow 4%



Real Estate
up arrow 6%

Spanish Language
up arrow 9%

Bankruptcy
up arrow 17%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 763 votes.

Gender

Female
48 %
Male
52 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
14%
1-4 years
61%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
5%
20 years or more
1%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 76% dental benefits Dental: 46%
vision benefits Vision: 32% employee benefits None: 23%
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