Associate Attorney Salary

Average Associate Attorneys in the United States make around $68K per year. The range in cash compensation to Associate Attorneys (largely between $46K and $129K) includes potential earnings of $15K from bonuses, $13K from profit sharing, and commissions of $26K in exceptional cases. While the company and years of experience impact pay for this group, geography is the most influential factor. Men working as Associate Attorneys who took the survey just slightly outnumber women at 52 percent. Work is enjoyable for Associate Attorneys, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. While between a fifth and a fourth report receiving no health benefits, a fair number do receive medical coverage, and slightly less than one-half have dental, as well. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$44,827 - $122,524
(Median)
$45K
$68K
$120K
MEDIAN: $68,274
10%
50%
90%

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$16.93 - $57.59
(Median)
$17
$29
$58
MEDIAN: $28.00
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
$44,827 - $122,524  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $15,034  
Profit Sharing
$491.32 - $12,862  
Commission
$0.00 - $26,179  
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).
)
$45,500 - $129,337  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 5,501
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$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$16.93 - $57.59  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $69.81  
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$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $15,034  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $26,179  
Profit Sharing
$491.32 - $12,862  
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).
)
$45,500 - $129,337  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 223
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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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For Associate Attorneys, progressing to a Law Firm Partner role may result in a significant raise. On average, a Law Firm Partner can earn $206K annually. The most common next step for an Associate Attorney is to become an Attorney or an Associate Attorney at a Law Firm. The former position pays an additional $10K per year on average, and the latter position pays $3K more per year.

Associate Attorney Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Associate Attorney


Known for taking on a considerable number of Associate Attorneys, Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman,&Dicker Llp, Jackson Lewis Llp, Small Law Firm, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, and Fragomen, Del Rey & Bernsen are leading firms in the industry. For Associate Attorneys, comfortable salaries can be found at Jackson Lewis Llp; in fact, median earnings sit around $118K, the highest in the area.

Popular Skills for Associate Attorney


Associate Attorneys seem to wield many skills on the job. Lucky workers who know Intellectual Property can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 53 percent above average. Contract Negotiation and Complex Litigation Case Management are also correlated to pay that is above average, with increases between 11 percent and 53 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Spanish Language, Technical Writing, and Legal 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.


Associate Attorneys with a lot of experience tend to enjoy higher earnings. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $66K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $92K. After 10 to 20 years, professionals can make it pretty big; the median salary sits in the six-figure neighborhood of $100K. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $101K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $70,507

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

For Associate Attorneys, working in the bustling city of Washington has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Associate Attorneys will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+44 percent), Houston (+28 percent), New York (+26 percent), and Los Angeles (+22 percent).

Associate Attorney Reviews

What is it like working as an Associate Attorney?

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."

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Experience Affects Associate Attorney Salaries




National Average
$71,000


Skills That Affect Associate Attorney Salaries




litigation
up arrow 8%

Insurance
up arrow 4%

Legal Compliance
up arrow 4%

Real Estate
up arrow 3%

National Average
$71,000

Negotiation
up arrow 1%

Litigation Case Management
up arrow 2%

Legal Research
up arrow 4%

Legal Document Review
up arrow 4%



Legal Writing
up arrow 6%


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 881 votes.

Gender

Female
48 %
Male
52 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
14%
1-4 years
62%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
5%
20 years or more
1%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 77%
dental benefits
Dental: 47%
medical benefits
Vision: 33%
dental benefits
None: 22%
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