Associate Attorney Salary

Average Associate Attorneys in the United States make around $71K annually. Total cash compensation varies widely depending on the individual performance of Associate Attorneys. Generally sitting in the range of $48K to $129K, the final number can include almost $15K each from bonuses and profit sharing and commissions of $21K in exceptional cases. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is career length, though geography and the specific company have a (lesser) impact as well. Men are slightly outnumbered by their female counterparts who answered the questionnaire, who make up a slight majority at 51 percent. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Nearly one-fourth of professionals in this line of work do not receive benefits; however, a strong majority report medical coverage and just under one-half claim dental coverage as well. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$47,723 - $121,440
$48K
$71K
$120K
MEDIAN: $70,729
10%
50%
90%

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$16.71 - $71.83
$17
$30
$72
MEDIAN: $30.20
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
$47,723 - $121,440  
   
Bonus
$507 - $15,222  
Profit Sharing
$206.08 - $15,067  
Commission
$485.64 - $20,766  
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).
)
$47,981 - $128,688  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 3,682
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$31$62$93
Hourly Rate
$16.71 - $71.83  
   
Overtime
$17.62 - $91.92  
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
$507 - $15,222  
   
Commission
$485.64 - $20,766  
Profit Sharing
$206.08 - $15,067  
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).
)
$47,981 - $128,688  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 134

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 may progress into high-paying roles like Law Firm Partner, where median compensation is $204K annually. Associate Attorneys typically move into roles as Attorneys or Corporate Counsels, and those positions pay $8K more and $45K more, respectively.

Associate Attorney Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Associate Attorney


Leading companies who hire large numbers of Associate Attorneys include Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez, Small Law Firm, Jackson Lewis Llp, Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman,&Dicker Llp, and Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott. Jackson Lewis Llp offers the highest compensation with a median salary of $118K.

Popular Skills for Associate Attorney


Survey takers working as Associate Attorneys report using a large range of professional skills. Most notably, facility with Intellectual Property, Contract Negotiation, and Legal Compliance are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 34 percent, 12 percent, and 11 percent, respectively. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Bankruptcy, Spanish Language, and litigation. Most people familiar with Client Interaction also know Litigation Case Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Associate Attorney

Pay by Experience for an Associate Attorney has a positive trend. An entry-level Associate Attorney with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $69,000 based on 3,176 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. An Associate Attorney with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $93,000 based on 773 salaries. An experienced Associate Attorney which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $106,000 based on 216 salaries. An Associate Attorney with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $110,000 based on 48 salaries.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $72,616

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

For Associate Attorneys, busy San Francisco offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 50 percent above the national average. Associate Attorneys can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Washington (+39 percent), New York (+26 percent), Philadelphia (+20 percent), and Los Angeles (+19 percent). Chicago is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 3 percent.

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 480 votes.
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

▲51%

▲46%

▲28%

National Average
$73,000

▼5%

Skills That Affect Associate Attorney Salaries

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 480 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%
no benefits
None: 24%