Associate Attorney Salary
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.Read More...
Becoming an associate attorney requires one to graduate from college with a bachelor's degree, followed by law school. Majoring in law or political science is advised. Interning at a law firm during this time is also highly recommended, as it will provide the experience and contacts necessary to obtain a job once graduated from law school. Finally, the future associate attorney must take and pass the bar exam in order to be able to practice law.
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
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. The most common next step for an Associate Attorney is to become an Attorney or a Corporate Counsel. The former position pays an additional $9K per year on average, and the latter position pays $46K more per year.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Associate Attorney
Many Associate Attorneys can be found at Jackson Lewis Llp, Small Law Firm, Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman,&Dicker Llp, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, and Fragomen, Del Rey & Bernsen, firms that are at the top of the field. Jackson Lewis Llp attracts talent by shelling out the biggest paychecks in the area — the median in that office is $118K.
Popular Skills for Associate Attorney
Associate Attorneys seem to require a rather large skill set. Most notably, facility with Intellectual Property, Complex Litigation Case Management, and Contract Negotiation are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 36 percent, 11 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Bankruptcy, Spanish Language, and litigation. Most people who know Client Interaction also know 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. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $68K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $93K. Experienced professionals who have spent one to two decades on the job can score lucrative paychecks that average out to $105K. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $110K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.
Pay Difference by Location
Home to some of the best pay for Associate Attorneys, Washington offers exceptional salaries, 56 percent above the national average. Associate Attorneys can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+44 percent), New York (+25 percent), Denver (+22 percent), and Houston (+20 percent). The lowest-paying market is Cleveland, which sits 5 percent below the national average.
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