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Associate Attorney Salary

The average Associate Attorney in the United States can expect to rake in roughly $67K annually. Including potential for bonuses and profit sharing, each hitting highs of $15K, total cash payment to Associate Attorneys can bottom out at $45K or peak near $128K. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by geographic location, but career length and the individual firm are influential factors as well. Work is enjoyable for Associate Attorneys, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Women are just slightly outnumbered, with male Associate Attorneys making up 52 percent of survey respondents. Although a strong majority have medical coverage and slightly less than one-half have dental coverage, between a fifth and a fourth claim no health benefits at all. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$44,310 - $121,113
(Median)
$44K
$67K
$120K
MEDIAN: $67,068
10%
50%
90%

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$15.80 - $53.72
(Median)
$16
$27
$54
MEDIAN: $27.00
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
$44,310 - $121,113  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $15,052  
Profit Sharing
$306.39 - $14,414  
Commission
$192.19 - $36,065  
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).
)
$44,969 - $128,281  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 4,533
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
$15.80 - $53.72  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $69.81  
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 - $15,052  
   
Commission
$192.19 - $36,065  
Profit Sharing
$306.39 - $14,414  
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).
)
$44,969 - $128,281  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 197

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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

  • 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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Associate Attorneys may progress into high-paying roles like Law Firm Partner, where median compensation is $203K annually. Associate Attorneys moving up in their careers tend to step into positions as Attorneys or Associate Attorneys at Law Firms. The median paychecks in those roles are $11K higher and $4K higher, respectively.

Associate Attorney Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Associate Attorney


Popular Skills for Associate Attorney


Associate Attorneys seem to require a rather large skill set. Most notably, facility with Intellectual Property, litigation, and Complex Litigation Case Management are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 54 percent, 22 percent, and 15 percent, respectively. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Bankruptcy, Spanish Language, and Real Estate. Most people experienced in 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.


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Associate Attorneys — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Respondents with less than five years' experience take home $65K on average. In contrast, those who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably higher average of $92K. For Associate Attorneys, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $95K. Associate Attorneys with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $96K.

Pay Difference by Location


For Associate Attorneys, busy Washington offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 72 percent above the national average. Associate Attorneys can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+41 percent), New York (+26 percent), Houston (+21 percent), and Seattle (+19 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Chicago, 2 percent below the national average.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Associate Attorney Salaries




National Average
$69,000


Skills That Affect Associate Attorney Salaries


litigation
up arrow 22%




Legal Compliance
up arrow 3%

Negotiation
0%

National Average
$69,000

Litigation Case Management
up arrow 1%

Legal Research
up arrow 4%

Legal Document Review
up arrow 4%



Real Estate
up arrow 6%

Spanish Language
up arrow 8%

Bankruptcy
up arrow 17%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 792 votes.

Gender

Female
48 %
Male
52 %

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%
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