Associate Lawyer | In Minutes, Learn the Truth about Associate Lawyer


The contents of this web page are for informational and educational purposes only, and nothing you read is intended to be legal advice. Please review our disclaimer before taking action based upon anything you read or see.

An associate lawyer has a legal permit to practice law within the field and works for any law firm or association. Unlike partners or shareholders of the law firm, an associate lawyer doesn’t have any part or partnership in that firm. He works on a contract basis, and the firm pays him every month. Such lawyers may be entry-level or experienced.

Mostly, fresh candidates join the firms to gain experience and learn all about the law field. Working with any of such firms gives them a chance to work with experienced law entities. So, such a chance gives the entry-level associate lawyers to learn a lot from the old members of the field. 

Depending on the type of contract or duty within the field, associates may differ from one another. However, to learn all about these legal entities, one will have to dig into the law market deeply. After thorough market research, one can understand all about the duties and responsibilities of such an attorney. 

All this will need a lot of time and effort. So, to cut short your effort and time, we’ve proposed a precise guide for you. This guide will be discussing all the facts about an associate lawyer. So, let’s move down to dig this guide. 

Types of Associate Attorneys

Associate Lawyer

Based on their job within the law firm, associate lawyers are divided into three categories. Here is a brief introduction to all these types. 

Senior Associate Lawyers

Senior associate lawyers are non – partner members of a law firm who have some experience in the relevant field. They would have already worked with different clients, so they know how to handle a certain situation. No matter how important an associate lawyer’s role plays within the law firm, he’s never a shareholder. 

Junior Associate Lawyers

Most of the fresh students of the law field or entry-level attorneys who join any firm are regarded as junior associate lawyers. This is because they have or little experience in the law field. 

Also called clerks, the junior attorneys will be going to debut their career as a lawyer. So, they tend to learn as much as they can by working with the firm’s senior members. Such lawyers may also be internship students who simply join the firm to gain experience. So, the firm decides its payment. 

Summer Associate Lawyers

Summer associate lawyers are such attorneys who have completed their tenure at the law school but didn’t pass the bar examination. They sign a contract with the relevant firm for the whole summer. Such students also join the firm to enhance their knowledge and experience. So, they may also receive some payment from the firm. 

All types of associate lawyers join the law firms to become a shareholder or partners. Over time, some firms may promote them to the level of the partners or shareholders. However, some firms don’t promote the associates to the partner level no matter how proficient their performance is. 

How to Become an Associate Lawyer?

Associate Lawyer

The basic procedure to proceed with any type of lawyer is the same. Here is a brief procedure to become an associate lawyer. 

Bachelor’s Degree 

The first step to start a journey within the law field as a lawyer is to earn a bachelor’s degree in the law or any arts subject from a recognized institute of your state. 


After getting a bachelor’s degree, you should appear on the ((law school admission test)) (LSAT). It’s an inevitable step to enter the law field. In addition, this test helps to measure student’s different skills like:

  • Critical thinking skill
  • Evaluation skill
  • Investigation or research skill
  • Reading skill
  • Writing skill

These are some of the essential skills that help a lot within the law field. 

Apply for the Law Schools

After you’ve done with the LSAT, apply for the recognized law institutes of your state. You’ll get admission according to your aggregate. 

Tenure at the Law School

After the four-year bachelor’s degree, you’ll have to complete your three years of education in any recognized institute of your state. After this education, you’ll get a ((Juris Doctor)) (JD) degree. 

Apply for Associate Lawyer

When you have done your Juris Doctor degree or are a second-year student, you can apply for the associate lawyer’s post in any law firm. In between your JD degree and bar examination, you can start your practice as an associate within a law firm. This will help you to get experience. After this step, you can apply for the state bar examination necessary to get a permit or license. 

Associate vs. Partner

Associate Lawyer and partner of a law firm different from one another. Here are some of the major differences between these types of lawyers.

PartnerAssociate Lawyer
A partner within any law firm is a person who has a share in the profit of the firm.An associate does not have any part in the profit of the law firm.
Such an attorney has more experience.An associate has little or no experience in the law field.
A partner plays an important role in the management of the firm.Such a lawyer does not have any role in the management of a law firm.
He is a permanent member of the firm.An associate works on a contract.
They earn profit share along with their salary.Their salary is fixed.

What is the Payment Method for an Associate Lawyer?

What is the Payment Method for an Associate Lawyer

The payment method for the associate lawyers varies from firm to firm or state to state. However, the following are the most commonly used payment methods for such attorneys. 

  • The permanent salary may increase after some time. 
  • Monthly salary along with certain bonuses. 
  • Salary based on the commission according to the cases that the associate lawyer handles. 
  • Percentage of the fee of the relevant case.

Income of an Associate Lawyer

The ((income of an associate lawyer)) depends upon different factors like types, experience, region, or the payment method. First, however, here is an estimate of the income of such lawyers. 

  • Senior Associate Attorney: $140000 Annually
  • Junior Associate Lawyer: $118000
  • Summer Associate Lawyer: $116000 annually

According to this estimate, the average income of an associate lawyer is $138000 annually. However, this income may vary from state to state or from firm to firm. 

Responsibilities of an Associate Lawyer

Here are some of the duties that an associate lawyer will have to perform within a law firm. 

  • Handling the assigned cases. 
  • Acting as a representative of the relevant client in the court. 
  • Planning the relevant cases with a proper start and a reasonable finish. 
  • Hearing the client’s will and researching to defend the will in court. 
  • Acting as a consultant for his clients. 
  • Preparations for the court trials. 
  • Obeying the firm’s directions. 
  • Investigating a case and gathering evidence about it. 
  • Consulting with the senior members of the firm. 
  • Supervision of the paralegal staff. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an associate lawyer do?

An associate lawyer performs the following tasks. 

  • Represent the relevant clients in the court. 
  • Obeying the directions of the law firm for which he is working. 
  • Acting as a consultant for his clients. 
  • Hearing the will of the client. 
  • Preparations for the court trials. 
  • Defending the client’s will with strong arguments. 
  • To research for the client’s will. 

Is an associate higher than a lawyer?

An associate is a stage of a lawyer’s progression within the field. A lawyer starts from junior associate or clerk and moves towards the senior associate, then a summer associate, and finally a partner or shareholder of any law firm. 

What is the difference between an associate and an attorney?

An associate is a legal person who works in any law field to gain practice or learn the law field. He may be a law student or a fresh law graduate. However, a lawyer is a legal entity having a state bar permit to practice within a law field. Such a lawyer can directly represent the clients in court. 

A legal associate is commonly regarded as an associate lawyer within a law firm. He is an entry-level or a lawyer with little experience. Such lawyers join the law firm to move up towards the partner or shareholder level. 

How senior is an associate?

An associate is a lower position within any law firm. An associate lawyer is not a senior-level attorney; rather, he is an entry-level or practicing law student. However, there are further three types of associate lawyers. 

  • Senior associate is a relatively experienced associate lawyer. 
  • Junior lawyer is an entry-level attorney with no experience. 
  • Summer associate signs a contract with any law firm for the whole summer. 


An associate attorney is not a well-skilled or well-experienced attorney of the law field. Such lawyers work for different law firms on a contract basis or internship programs. So, their wages are comparatively low. Moreover, these differ from the partners or shareholders regarding their duties or place within any firm. The above guide will help you to learn all about an associate lawyer.

Comments are closed.