Associate Attorney Job Description

Associate Attorneys manage litigation cases and resolve legal disputes on behalf of clients by developing agreements, negotiating contacts, settling claims and advocating for clients in court. They can work in a wide range of fields, spanning from divorce and to corporate law to civil rights, to criminal law.

Associate Attorneys typically work under the supervision of more experienced colleagues, often providing support and assistance, such as performing legal research for a particular case. The vast majority of Associate Attorneys work for law firms, although a sizable amount work for local, state, and federal governments. The career field is expected to grow about 6 percent through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, creating about 44,000 job openings.


Associate Attorney Duties and Responsibilities

In order to be successful in their litigation and support roles, Associate Attorneys must perform many different tasks. We analyzed several job listings and identified these primary Associate Attorney duties and responsibilities.

Provide Legal Support

Associate Attorneys have to complete extensive case-related research into relevant laws and regulations, negotiate on behalf of clients, draft and interpret contracts and legal documents, and oversee compliance to these documents. They must plan and present arguments and counter-arguments in a court of law.

Maintain Client Relationships

Throughout any legal process, creating and maintaining a good rapport with a firm’s clients is a key task for Associate Attorneys. This includes communicating often and explaining complex legal proceedings and concepts.

Prepare Reports

Often, Associate Attorneys are responsible for keeping all stakeholders – from their senior colleagues to clients – abreast of the progress of a case by creating reports and communicating verbally.

Associate Attorney Skills

Successful Associate Attorneys are excellent communicators with strong interpersonal skills. They have strong analytical abilities and extensive knowledge in their field. They are dedicated, honest, and possess integrity. Capable of working both in teams and independently, they’re versatile and they take the initiative in their work.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Associate Attorneys with these core skills. If you want to work as an Associate Attorney, focus on the following.

  • Appropriate certifications
  • Hold a license from the state in which they wish to work
  • Possess extensive legal knowledge
  • Ability to manage several projects simultaneously
  • Understanding confidentiality requirements
  • Ability to work independently and collaborate with others

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Associate Attorney toolbox and broaden your career options.

  • Experience in particular field of law
  • Specialized knowledge


Associate Attorney Resources

We’ve searched the Web for more industry resources to help you explore a career as an Associate Attorney. From leaders in the field to industry groups, this list is full of opportunities to learn, connect and engage.

On the Web

The Art Law Report – An examination of all the legal ramifications associated with art.

Trademarkology – An investigation of the world of trademarks.

Inside Privacy – A look at privacy law, specifically related to date privacy and cyber security.

Industry Groups

American Bar Association – With some 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the leading association for lawyers in the United States. This site is full of resources and information.

AIPLA – The American Intellectual Property Law Association focuses on intellectual property law, representing law firms, companies involved in patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret law.

NLA – The National Lawyers Association is an apolitical nonprofit focused on improving the legal system of the United States.

Associate Attorney Books

Law 101 – A vivid, upbeat examination of the American legal system updated with recent Supreme Court cases, criminal trials and other legal developments.

Legal Writing in Plain English – This is a helpful guide to comprehending and interpreting legal writing.

Notorious RBG – Learn about the life and times of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


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