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Associate Attorney Job Description

An associate attorney is typically a lawyer in the firm that has not reached partner status. The designation can indicate a recently licensed attorney, but not always.

Depending on the firm, it may take an associate attorney up to 10 years to become a partner although 5 to 7 is more usual. He or she is the legal professional that will most likely be doing the majority of the work on your legal matter and communication with you.


The responsibilities of an associate attorney vary depending on the office. In general, however, they help lawyers prepare for closings, hearings, trials and corporate meetings. They also assist with fact-checking, making sure that research is relevant to a case and that all the information put together for a case is true. Many associates attorney draft contracts, mortgages and separation agreements.

Knowledge and Education

First you need to complete your bachelor’s degree. Depending on its content, legal studies may or may not be a particularly good major. Law schools accept all academic majors, but if legal studies at your school is designed for prospective paralegals (roughly equivalent to nurses in the medical profession) and not for prospective law students, then history or political science will be better majors as they will involve more critical reading and writing which is what law school is all about.

Once the student graduates law school, he is still not an attorney. She merely has a law degree. To become an attorney, she must take and pass a bar examination and be deemed morally fit to be an attorney.

Specific knowledge that associate attorney must have is a command over the English language and a good use of rhetoric. Clerical and administrative procedures must be known, in addition to legal and courtroom proceedings.

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