Associate Attorney (Law Firm) Salary

Median pay for Associate Attorneys at Law Firms in the United States is around $73K annually. In the world of Associate Attorneys at Law Firms, overall cash earnings stretch from $45K near the bottom to $149K near the top; these packages encompass bonuses that run close to $15K and profit sharing that can (albeit rarely) exceed $19K, along with commissions approaching $26K. Career length is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. For the most part, Associate Attorneys at Law Firms enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Women make up a slight majority of Associate Attorneys at Law Firms (51 percent) survey respondents. Not all workers are lucky enough to have benefits; in fact, nearly one in five are without coverage. Medical insurance is claimed by a strong majority and dental insurance is reported by roughly one-half. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$45,296 - $143,409
(Median)
$45K
$73K
$140K
MEDIAN: $72,857
10%
50%
90%

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$14.61 - $63.48
(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
$45,296 - $143,409  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $15,414  
Profit Sharing
$1,220 - $19,392  
Commission
$350.00 - $25,500  
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).
)
$45,482 - $148,728  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,717
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
$14.61 - $63.48  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $58.17  
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 - $15,414  
   
Commission
$350.00 - $25,500  
Profit Sharing
$1,220 - $19,392  
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).
)
$45,482 - $148,728  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 74

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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 may experience a large salary bump if they progress into a role such as Law Firm Partner. The latter position pays an average of $204K annually. It is quite typical for Associate Attorneys at Law Firms to transition into roles as Attorneys or Corporate Counsels, where reported median earnings are $4K and $41K higher per year.

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Popular Skills for Associate Attorney (Law Firm)


Survey results suggest that Associate Attorneys at Law Firms use a fairly large toolkit of professional skills. 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 74 percent, 58 percent, and 17 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Negotiation and Legal Research. Most people who know Litigation Case Management also know Complex Litigation Case Management and Technical Writing. Most people skilled in Legal Research are similarly competent in 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. After 10 to 20 years, professionals can make it pretty big; the median salary sits in the six-figure neighborhood of $116K. For some reason, Associate Attorneys at Law Firms with more than two decades of experience report lower paychecks overall; the median sum in this group sits near $108K.

Pay Difference by Location


For those looking to make money, Associate Attorneys at Law Firms in San Francisco enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 36 percent above the national average. Associate Attorneys at Law Firms can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Washington (+35 percent), New York (+27 percent), Houston (+27 percent), and Philadelphia (+18 percent). The lowest-paying market is Atlanta, which sits 7 percent below the national average. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Miami (5 percent lower) and Chicago (4 percent lower).

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Associate Attorney (Law Firm) Salaries


Late-Career
up arrow 42%


National Average
$76,000


Skills That Affect Associate Attorney (Law Firm) Salaries

Contract Negotiation
up arrow 74%

Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 58%


Litigation Case Management
up arrow 3%

National Average
$76,000

Technical Writing
up arrow 3%


Negotiation
up arrow 8%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 429 votes.

Gender

Female
51 %
Male
49 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
12%
1-4 years
55%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
7%
20 years or more
1%

Common Health Benefits

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