Pay for Associate Attorneys at Law Firms in the United States sits in the ballpark of $81K per year. Cash earnings for Associate Attorneys at Law Firms — which occasionally include more than $29K from bonuses and more than $16K from profit sharing — stretch from around $50K to approximately $169K. Geographic location and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Some workers in this field — somewhere between a fifth and a fourth — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by a fair number and dental plans are enjoyed by more than half. Work is reasonably fulfilling for most Associate Attorneys at Law Firms — the majority report average levels of job satisfaction. Men are slightly outnumbered by their female counterparts who answered the questionnaire, who make up a slight majority at 53 percent. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$49,030 - $157,050
(Median)
$49K
$81K
$160K
MEDIAN: $80,945
10%
50%
90%

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$13.09 - $223.49
(Median)
$13
$40
$220
MEDIAN: $40
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$60K$120K$180K
Salary
$49,030 - $157,050  
   
Bonus
$992 - $29,087  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $15,947  
Commission
$21,000  
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).
)
$50,249 - $169,409  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 287
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$80$160$240
Hourly Rate
$13.09 - $223.49  
   
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$160K$320K$480K
Bonus
$992 - $29,087  
   
Commission
$21,000  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $15,947  
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).
)
$50,249 - $169,409  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 10

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United States (change)

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Job Description for Associate Attorney (Law Firm)

Associate attorneys at law firms are responsible for completing legal tasks for their firm. They conduct research for current legal cases, attend court proceedings, and provide accurate analysis and advice on future legal actions. In addition, they complete and deliver crucial documents to courts as needed. Associate attorneys provide legal advice to their clients, and thus must respect confidentiality agreements. They also negotiate on behalf on their firm with jury selection, and they may also argue cases in court.

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Associate Attorney (Law Firm) 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 (Law Firm)


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As Associate Attorneys at Law Firms transition into upper-level roles such as Law Firm Partner, they may see a strong upturn in salary. Law Firm Partners earn $204K on average per year. As Associate Attorneys at Law Firms progress in their field, many go on to become Attorneys. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and median pay for the role is $81K. Another common career choice for Associate Attorneys at Law Firms is to move into a Corporate Counsel role — this promotion usually pays $118K.

Associate Attorney Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Associate Attorney (Law Firm)


Survey results suggest that Associate Attorneys at Law Firms put a wide range of professional skills to use. Lucky workers who know Intellectual Property can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 43 percent above average. Complex Litigation Case Management and Contract Negotiation are also correlated to pay that is above average, with increases between 18 percent and 43 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Litigation Case Management and Negotiation. For most people, competency in Legal Research indicates knowledge of Technical Writing and Complex Litigation Case Management. A tool kit that includes Litigation Case Management also typically contains Complex Litigation Case Management and Technical Writing.

Pay by Experience Level for Associate Attorney (Law Firm)

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


In general, experience and pay appear to be strongly linked; those with more experience usually bring in higher incomes. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $73K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $98K. Professionals who spend a good 10 to 20 years in the workforce haul in an average of $106K. Seasoned veterans with 20 years under their belts enjoy a median income of $122K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $84,073

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

For Associate Attorneys at Law Firms, heading east means bigger paychecks — those in Washington, Boston, and New York earn more on average than Associate Attorneys at Law Firms in the rest of the country. Falling short of the national average by 16 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Atlanta. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Miami (14 percent lower) and Los Angeles (1 percent lower).

Related Job Salaries

Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Associate Attorney (Law Firm) Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 45%



National Average
$84,000


Skills That Affect Associate Attorney (Law Firm) Salaries

Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 43%


Contract Negotiation
up arrow 18%

litigation
up arrow 2%

National Average
$84,000

Legal Research
up arrow 2%

Technical Writing
up arrow 2%

Legal Document Review
up arrow 2%

Negotiation
up arrow 3%


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 32 votes.

Gender

Female
53 %
Male
47 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
11%
1-4 years
52%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
12%
20 years or more
3%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 77%
dental benefits
Dental: 52%
medical benefits
Vision: 41%
dental benefits
None: 23%
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