Associate Attorney Salary

Median pay for Associate Attorneys in the United States lies in the neighborhood of $71K annually. Total cash compensation to Associate Attorneys ranges from $48K on the lower end to $128K on the higher end; the final number includes potential for approximately $15K each from bonuses and profit sharing in exceptional cases. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by experience level, followed by geography and the individual firm. Women make up a slight majority of Associate Attorneys (51 percent) survey respondents. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Associate Attorneys. Health benefits are not enjoyed by everyone in this line of work, and nearly one in four lack any coverage at all. Medical benefits are reported by a strong majority and dental coverage is claimed by nearly one-half. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.
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$47,971 - $120,944
$48K
$71K
$120K
MEDIAN: $71,085
10%
50%
90%

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$16.56 - $67.22
$17
$30
$67
MEDIAN: $30.16
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
$47,971 - $120,944  
   
Bonus
$508 - $15,188  
Profit Sharing
$15.71 - $14,912  
Commission
$487.22 - $20,674  
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).
)
$48,109 - $127,796  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 4 May 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 3,824
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$32$64$96
Hourly Rate
$16.56 - $67.22  
   
Overtime
$20.00 - $95.00  
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
$508 - $15,188  
   
Commission
$487.22 - $20,674  
Profit Sharing
$15.71 - $14,912  
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).
)
$48,109 - $127,796  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 4 May 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 140

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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

  • 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 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 $8K per year on average, and the latter position pays $45K more per year.

Associate Attorney Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Associate Attorney


Associate Attorneys flock to Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez, Small Law Firm, Jackson Lewis Llp, Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman,&Dicker Llp, and Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, highly regarded companies that employ a generous number of people in this profession. Those at Jackson Lewis Llp can expect to make the most, with the company offering a median salary of $118K.

Popular Skills for Associate Attorney


Associate Attorneys seem to exploit a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Intellectual Property, Contract Negotiation, and Legal Compliance are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 33 percent, 11 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. Those listing Bankruptcy as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Spanish Language and litigation also typically command lower compensation. Those familiar with Client Interaction also tend to 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: $72,963

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

San Francisco is home to an above-average pay rate for Associate Attorneys, 49 percent higher than the national average. Associate Attorneys can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Washington (+38 percent), New York (+25 percent), Philadelphia (+20 percent), and Los Angeles (+19 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Chicago, 4 percent below the national average.

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 504 votes.
Less than 1 year
13%
1-4 years
62%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
5%
20 years or more
1%
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Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Associate Attorney Salaries

▲51%

▲46%

▲27%

National Average
$73,000

▼5%

Skills That Affect Associate Attorney Salaries

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 504 votes.

Gender

Female
51 %
Male
49 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
13%
1-4 years
62%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
5%
20 years or more
1%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 75%
dental benefits
Dental: 48%
vision benefits
Vision: 34%
no benefits
None: 24%
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