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Associate Attorney Salary

Associate Attorneys in the United States take home approximately $67K per year on average. Overall compensation packages to Associate Attorneys range from $45K on the low end to $129K on the high end; this includes bonuses that peak near $15K and profit sharing that approaches $13K, with some high rollers snagging commissions as high as $36K. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by years of experience and the individual firm. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — just under one in four lack coverage. On the flip side, a fair number have medical insurance and a little less than one-half receive dental plans. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Associate Attorneys. Male Associate Attorneys are just a bit more common among those who completed the questionnaire than females ones, with male workers composing 53 percent of the field. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
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$44,168 - $121,429
(Median)
$44K
$67K
$120K
MEDIAN: $67,224
10%
50%
90%

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$15.28 - $51.41
(Median)
$15
$26
$51
MEDIAN: $26.00
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
$44,168 - $121,429  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $15,072  
Profit Sharing
$153.19 - $12,585  
Commission
$193.15 - $35,745  
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).
)
$44,824 - $128,538  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 1 Apr 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 4,395
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
$15.28 - $51.41  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $53.44  
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 - $15,072  
   
Commission
$193.15 - $35,745  
Profit Sharing
$153.19 - $12,585  
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).
)
$44,824 - $128,538  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 1 Apr 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 194

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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 $204K on average per year. A common career progression for an Associate Attorney is to become an Attorney or an Associate Attorney at a Law Firm. Compared to Associate Attorneys, the first group earns $11K more on average, and the second group earns $4K more.

Associate Attorney Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Associate Attorney


Popular Skills for Associate Attorney


Associate Attorneys report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Intellectual Property, litigation, and Contract Negotiation are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 52 percent, 19 percent, and 14 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Bankruptcy, Spanish Language, and Technical Writing. It is often found that people who know Client Interaction are also skilled in Litigation Case Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Associate Attorney

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


For Associate Attorneys, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $65K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $92K. On average, Associate Attorneys make $94K following one to two decades on the job. Old hands boasting more than twenty years of relevant experience report pay that is more or less commensurate with that extensive experience; average earnings for this group come out to approximately $96K.

Pay Difference by Location


Surpassing the national average by 70 percent, Associate Attorneys in Washington receive some of the highest pay in the country. Associate Attorneys will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+36 percent), New York (+27 percent), Seattle (+25 percent), and Houston (+20 percent). In Chicago, salaries are 2 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Associate Attorney Salaries




National Average
$70,000


Skills That Affect Associate Attorney Salaries


litigation
up arrow 19%




Legal Compliance
up arrow 4%

Negotiation
0%

Real Estate
0%

National Average
$70,000

Litigation Case Management
up arrow 1%

Legal Research
up arrow 4%

Legal Document Review
up arrow 4%



Spanish Language
up arrow 8%

Bankruptcy
up arrow 17%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 815 votes.

Gender

Female
47 %
Male
53 %

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%