Associate Attorney Salary

Associate Attorneys in the United States can expect to earn an average of $67K per year. With bonuses occasionally running north of $15K, profit sharing proceeds sometimes surpassing $12K, and a few commissions as high as $36K, total income for Associate Attorneys can range between $45K and $128K according to individual performance. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is residence, followed by experience level and the individual firm. Men working as Associate Attorneys who took the survey just slightly outnumber women at 52 percent. Not all workers are lucky enough to have benefits; in fact, just under one in four are without coverage. Medical insurance is claimed by a fair number and dental insurance is reported by slightly less than one-half. Most Associate Attorneys like their work and job satisfaction is high. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$44,451 - $120,695
(Median)
$44K
$67K
$120K
MEDIAN: $67,043
10%
50%
90%

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$15.74 - $54.54
(Median)
$16
$29
$55
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
$44,451 - $120,695  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $15,041  
Profit Sharing
$293.61 - $12,404  
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).
)
$45,130 - $127,806  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 4,674
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
$15.74 - $54.54  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $71.90  
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 - $15,041  
   
Commission
$192.19 - $36,065  
Profit Sharing
$293.61 - $12,404  
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).
)
$45,130 - $127,806  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 195
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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 may experience a large salary bump if they progress into a role such as Law Firm Partner. The latter position pays an average of $203K annually. Associate Attorneys most often move into positions as Attorneys or Associate Attorneys at Law Firms; those groups report median salaries that are $11K higher and $4K higher, respectively.

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Popular Skills for Associate Attorney


Survey respondents exploit a significant toolbox of skills in their work. 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 54 percent, 16 percent, and 14 percent, respectively. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include 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.


Although individuals who have less than five years' experience earn $65K on average, people with five to 10 years benefit from a notably larger average of $92K. Associate Attorneys with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $96K. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn any more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts.

Pay Difference by Location


Associate Attorneys will find that Washington offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 69 percent. Associate Attorneys will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+43 percent), New York (+26 percent), Houston (+20 percent), and Los Angeles (+20 percent). Chicago is the lowest-paying area, 4 percent south of 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 16%




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 756 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: 22%
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