The average Associate Attorney in the United States can expect to rake in roughly $71K annually. In the world of Associate Attorneys, final incomes generally run from $48K to $129K; this includes potential for up to $15K each from bonuses and profit sharing, with a few high performers earning commissions of $21K. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by career duration, followed by geography and the individual firm. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Women Associate Attorneys who took the survey just slightly outnumber men. While some workers in this profession — about one in four — do not have any health coverage, a strong majority do receive medical benefits and a little less than half have dental insurance. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$47,406 - $122,082
$47K
$71K
$120K
MEDIAN: $70,600
10%
50%
90%

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$16.80 - $68.20
$17
$30
$68
MEDIAN: $30.16
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
$47,406 - $122,082  
   
Bonus
$506 - $15,176  
Profit Sharing
$200.00 - $14,888  
Commission
$486.45 - $20,694  
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).
)
$47,836 - $129,347  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 3,864
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$33$66$99
Hourly Rate
$16.80 - $68.20  
   
Overtime
$18.12 - $97.29  
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$70K$140K$210K
Bonus
$506 - $15,176  
   
Commission
$486.45 - $20,694  
Profit Sharing
$200.00 - $14,888  
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).
)
$47,836 - $129,347  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 146

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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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

  • 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.
  • Represent clients in court or before government agencies, present and summarize cases to judges and juries.
  • 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.

Common Career Paths for Associate Attorney


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Associate Attorneys who transition into a Law Firm Partner role may receive large pay increases as the latter position pays an average $204K per year. Typical career progression for an Associate Attorney involves becoming an Attorney or a Corporate Counsel, roles that pay $9K more and $45K more on average.

Associate Attorney Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Associate Attorney


Dominating the field, Jackson Lewis Llp, Small Law Firm, Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman,&Dicker Llp, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, and Fragomen, Del Rey & Bernsen are top firms with a reputation for hiring a great number of Associate Attorneys. For Associate Attorneys, comfortable salaries can be found at Jackson Lewis Llp; in fact, median earnings sit around $119K, the highest in the area.

Popular Skills for Associate Attorney


Associate Attorneys report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Intellectual Property, Contract Negotiation, and Complex Litigation Case Management are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 38 percent, 11 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Bankruptcy, Spanish Language, and litigation. 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.


Experience seems to be a major factor in determining the incomes of Associate Attorneys. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $69K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $93K. Professionals who claim 10 to 20 years of experience can secure some pretty cushy paychecks; the median for this group is a six-figure $104K. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn much more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts; the more senior group reports an average income of $109K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $72,430

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

For Associate Attorneys, busy Washington offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 49 percent above the national average. Associate Attorneys can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+48 percent), New York (+24 percent), Philadelphia (+22 percent), and Los Angeles (+20 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Cleveland, 4 percent below the national average.

Associate Attorney Reviews

Q: What is it like working as an Associate Attorney?

Associate Attorney in New York:
"Experience."
Pros: Variety of projects, interactions with people across university, intellectual challenges, solving problems, advising and providing legal guidance. Flexibility, 4 day weeks during the summer, regular hours.
Cons: Poor management, no support or mentorship, treated as a "junior" even though I have at least 20 years of experience in the working world. Poor division of labor, incredibly dysfunctional intake system, poor communication between leadership and staff, hoarding of knowledge and keeping me in the dark about decisions that affect me.

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."

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Associate Attorney

Gender

Female
51 %
Male
49 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 500 votes.
062
Less than 1 year
13%
1-4 years
63%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
5%
20 years or more
1%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Associate Attorney Salaries




National Average
$72,000


Skills That Affect Associate Attorney Salaries

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 500 votes.

Gender

Female
51 %
Male
49 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
13%
1-4 years
63%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
5%
20 years or more
1%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 75%
dental benefits
Dental: 47%
vision benefits
Vision: 34%
dental benefits
None: 24%
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