Associate Attorneys in the United States take home an average $70K annually. Overall cash earnings of Associate Attorneys stretch from $47K near the bottom to $128K at the top, and the heftiest packages can encompass around $15K each from bonuses and profit sharing. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by residence, followed by years of experience and the particular employer. Men make up a slight majority of Associate Attorneys (51 percent) who responded to the survey. Most Associate Attorneys report high levels of job satisfaction. Although a strong majority have medical coverage and about one-half have dental coverage, between a fifth and a fourth claim no health benefits at all. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$46,750 - $121,377
(Median)
$47K
$70K
$120K
MEDIAN: $69,737
10%
50%
90%

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$16.94 - $65.77
(Median)
$17
$30
$66
MEDIAN: $30
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
$46,750 - $121,377  
   
Bonus
$512 - $15,102  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $14,925  
Commission
$488.67 - $22,669  
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).
)
$47,462 - $127,870  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 3,934
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$33$66$99
Hourly Rate
$16.94 - $65.77  
   
Overtime
$18.00 - $97.59  
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
$512 - $15,102  
   
Commission
$488.67 - $22,669  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $14,925  
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).
)
$47,462 - $127,870  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 149
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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 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.

Associate Attorney Job Listings

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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

National Average: $71,667

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that 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.

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
$72,000


Skills That Affect Associate Attorney Salaries





Real Estate
up arrow 5%

Insurance
up arrow 3%

Negotiation
up arrow 1%

National Average
$72,000

Litigation Case Management
up arrow 2%

Legal Research
up arrow 4%

Technical Writing
up arrow 4%



litigation
up arrow 8%


Bankruptcy
up arrow 19%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 526 votes.

Gender

Female
49 %
Male
51 %

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: 76%
dental benefits
Dental: 48%
medical benefits
Vision: 35%
dental benefits
None: 23%
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