Associate Attorney Salary

Associate Attorneys in the United States take home approximately $68K annually on average. With bonuses occasionally running north of $15K, profit sharing proceeds sometimes surpassing $13K, and a few commissions as high as $26K, total income for Associate Attorneys can range between $46K and $129K according to individual performance. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by the specific employer and years of experience. Job satisfaction for Associate Attorneys is high. Although just under a fourth lack health benefits of any kind, a strong majority do enjoy medical insurance, and a little less than half get dental coverage, too. Male Associate Attorneys are just a bit more common among those who completed the questionnaire than females ones, with male workers composing 52 percent of the field. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
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$44,827 - $122,524
(Median)
$45K
$68K
$120K
MEDIAN: $68,274
10%
50%
90%

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$16.93 - $57.59
(Median)
$17
$29
$58
MEDIAN: $28.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$44,827 - $122,524  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $15,034  
Profit Sharing
$491.32 - $12,862  
Commission
$0.00 - $26,179  
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).
)
$45,500 - $129,337  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 5,501
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$16.93 - $57.59  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $69.81  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $15,034  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $26,179  
Profit Sharing
$491.32 - $12,862  
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).
)
$45,500 - $129,337  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 223
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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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As Associate Attorneys transition into upper-level roles such as Law Firm Partner, they may see a strong upturn in salary. Law Firm Partners earn $206K on average per year. Attorneys or Associate Attorneys at Law Firms are common next-step roles for Associate Attorneys moving up in their careers; annual pay for Attorneys is $10K higher on average, and it's $3K higher for Associate Attorneys at Law Firms.

Associate Attorney Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Associate Attorney


Associate Attorneys flock to Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman,&Dicker Llp, Jackson Lewis Llp, Small Law Firm, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, and Fragomen, Del Rey & Bernsen, highly regarded companies that employ a generous number of people in this profession. Jackson Lewis Llp leads the field in terms of pay, with a median salary of $118K.

Popular Skills for Associate Attorney


Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Lucky workers who know Intellectual Property can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 53 percent above average. Contract Negotiation and Complex Litigation Case Management are also correlated to pay that is above average, with increases between 11 percent and 53 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Spanish Language, Technical Writing, and Legal Writing. Those educated in Client Interaction tend to be well versed in Litigation Case Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Associate Attorney

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


Associate Attorneys with a rich background of experience are typically rewarded with larger paychecks. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $66K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $92K. Those with 10 to 20 years of experience under their belts can expect their paychecks to flourish around the six-figure median of $100K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $101K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $70,507

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Washington is home to an above-average pay rate for Associate Attorneys, 75 percent higher than the national average. Associate Attorneys can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+44 percent), Houston (+28 percent), New York (+26 percent), and Los Angeles (+22 percent).

Associate Attorney Reviews

What is it like working as an Associate Attorney?

Associate Attorney in West Palm Beach:
"A place to grow if they water the seed."
Pros: Great work-life balance; amazing opportunity for professional development and growth; really like co-workers and staff; autonomy.
Cons: Lack of organization in leadership and I am not sure they are willing to compensate me for the value I bring to the firm. I get push back on taking leadership roles because I am "just an associate."

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Experience Affects Associate Attorney Salaries




National Average
$71,000


Skills That Affect Associate Attorney Salaries




litigation
up arrow 8%

Insurance
up arrow 4%

Legal Compliance
up arrow 4%

Real Estate
up arrow 3%

National Average
$71,000

Negotiation
up arrow 1%

Litigation Case Management
up arrow 2%

Legal Research
up arrow 4%

Legal Document Review
up arrow 4%



Legal Writing
up arrow 6%


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 881 votes.

Gender

Female
48 %
Male
52 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
14%
1-4 years
62%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
5%
20 years or more
1%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 77%
dental benefits
Dental: 47%
medical benefits
Vision: 33%
dental benefits
None: 22%
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