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Associate Attorney (Law Firm) Salary

Associate Attorneys at Law Firms in the United States take home an average $74K per year. Total cash compensation for Associate Attorneys at Law Firms runs from $46K to $148K depending on bonuses that can occasionally exceed $15K and profit sharing that can reach almost $20K. Experience level and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Most Associate Attorneys at Law Firms like their work and job satisfaction is high. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — close to one-fifth lack coverage. On the flip side, a fair number have medical insurance and one-half receive dental plans. Women Associate Attorneys at Law Firms who took the survey just slightly outnumber men. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$45,850 - $143,277
(Median)
$46K
$74K
$140K
MEDIAN: $73,719
10%
50%
90%

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$14.74 - $62.66
(Median)
$15
$30
$63
MEDIAN: $29.00
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
$45,850 - $143,277  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $15,371  
Profit Sharing
$1,184 - $20,273  
Commission
$202.73 - $27,284  
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).
)
$45,943 - $148,473  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,581
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
$14.74 - $62.66  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $58.72  
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 - $15,371  
   
Commission
$202.73 - $27,284  
Profit Sharing
$1,184 - $20,273  
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).
)
$45,943 - $148,473  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 69
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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

  • 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 (Law Firm)


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Associate Attorneys at Law Firms who go on to become Law Firm Partners may see their salaries climb quite a bit. Median pay for Law Firm Partners is $203K annually. A common career progression for an Associate Attorney at a Law Firm is to become an Attorney or a Corporate Counsel. Compared to Associate Attorneys at Law Firms, the first group earns $4K more on average, and the second group earns $40K more.

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Popular Skills for Associate Attorney (Law Firm)


Associate Attorneys at Law Firms report using a pretty varied skill set on the job. Most notably, facility with Contract Negotiation, Intellectual Property (IP), and Complex Litigation Case Management are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 72 percent, 56 percent, and 16 percent, respectively. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Negotiation, Legal Research, and Technical Writing. Most people skilled in Litigation Case Management are similarly competent in Complex Litigation Case Management and Technical Writing. For most people, competency in Legal Research indicates knowledge of Technical Writing and Complex Litigation Case Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Associate Attorney (Law Firm)

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


Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $70K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $96K. Six-figure salaries surface after one to two decades on the job — experienced professionals in this group reap a six-figure median of $115K. Associate Attorneys at Law Firms who have racked up more than two decades of experience report lower incomes overall; the average sum for this crowd comes out to only $108K.

Pay Difference by Location


Home to some of the best pay for Associate Attorneys at Law Firms, Washington offers exceptional salaries, 36 percent above the national average. Associate Attorneys at Law Firms will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+32 percent), Houston (+26 percent), New York (+24 percent), and Philadelphia (+17 percent). The lowest-paying market is Atlanta, which sits 8 percent below the national average. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Miami and Dallas (6 percent lower and 4 percent lower, respectively).

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Experience Affects Associate Attorney (Law Firm) Salaries


Late-Career
up arrow 40%


National Average
$77,000


Skills That Affect Associate Attorney (Law Firm) Salaries

Contract Negotiation
up arrow 72%

Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 56%


Litigation Case Management
up arrow 2%

National Average
$77,000

Technical Writing
up arrow 4%


Negotiation
up arrow 9%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 375 votes.

Gender

Female
50 %
Male
50 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
12%
1-4 years
55%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
8%
20 years or more
2%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 78% dental benefits Dental: 49%
vision benefits Vision: 33% employee benefits None: 20%
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