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What Does a Junior Associate Do?

published September 21, 2020

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If you have just graduated from law school, you are most likely going to work at a law firm. This is what the majority of law graduates go on to do, using your degree in a number of roles depending on what your interests are. For example, some law graduates will start as junior associates. This can be a rewarding role that can allow you to go on to big and better things after a few years and gaining experience. Let’s take a look at what a junior associate is and what you can do.
 
What Does a Junior Associate Do?

What is a Junior Associate?

 
A junior associate is often described as a young lawyer that is an employee of the partners at a law firm. It is often the starting point after law school and you will need a degree for this position.
 
You will find that law firms have junior associates and senior associates. Just as the names suggest, law graduates are going to enter the legal world as junior associates. Then, when you have developed skills and had experience, you can go on to be a senior associate. At this stage, after around six to nine years, you can become a partner at the law firm. Of course, making partner will take a lot of hard work and dedication, being based on your job performance and alignment with the law firm.
 
As a junior associate, your daily duties are going to be carrying out legal work for the law firm. This will be with clients of the partners and you will be supervised by a senior associate or partner. In particular, you are going to be under more supervision when you first become a junior associate. It is possible to also have paralegals working for you and to assist with your legal work.
 
What Areas Can a Junior Associate Work In?
 
As a junior associate, you can work in many different areas. Indeed, in a majority of sectors, you can have a lot of responsibilities. Let’s take a look at some examples so that you can anticipate what your duties may be in different roles.
 
Banking and Credit
 
If you are a junior associate in banking and credit, you will be part of a team sorting everything from credit agreements to drafting documents. You will liaise with partners, as well as directly with clients. You will be using your legal skills to give advice, draft and negotiate on a client’s behalf. In addition, you will need to be prepared to be part of the closing process. This is going to be great experience and you can be part of conference calls and working with opposing counsel to review documentation.
 
Capital Markets
 
A lot of people think that junior associated in capital markets will not have a lot of responsibility. But this is not always true. In fact, a lot of junior associates are involved in a variety of securities. For example, a normal day can include reviewing offering documents. You may also have to draft legal opinions and ensure that closings run smoothly. You will have a responsibility to interact with clients on a regular basis, as well as correspond with partners at the law firm.
 
Mergers and Acquisitions
 
It is possible to become a junior associate and deal with public and private merger and acquisition dealings. You will be given an active role in these types of transactions, which can allow you to gain experience. For example, you may start by drafting stock purchase agreements. Then you might move on to negotiations. Every day working in mergers and acquisitions is going to be different. You will be interacting with clients and other legal professionals on a daily basis.
 
Private Funds
 
When we talk about private funds, we are meaning the opportunity to work on private equity funds, real estate funds and even hedge funds. When you are a junior associate, you can deal with all of these. It will be important to build relationships with clients in order to thrive in this area. In particular, you will be dealing with a variety of different clients and confidence will be necessary.
 
Litigation
 
Do you enjoy being in the center of lawsuits and helping with high-profile investigations? Perhaps you would like to be a junior associate in litigation. You will have a lot of opportunities to use your legal skills and knowledge. For example, you will be enjoying a lot of client interaction and preparing for trials. Of course, you will also be involved in every stage from witness interviews and drafting discovery documents to taking part in court hearings. Being a junior associate in litigation is a fantastic way to gain experience and grow your confidence in the legal world.
 
Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits
 
The working day of a junior associate in executive compensation and employee benefits practice is going to be varied. You can represent clients in a range of matters, including tax and securities. A lot of law graduates like this since they are work in more than one area at the same time. From an early stage in your career, you can do everything from dealing with transaction documents and severance agreements to being part of negotiations in employment. You will be working directly with clients on a daily basis.
 
Tax
 
If you have an interest in tax law, you may consider being a junior associate in this sector. While a lot of people assume being a junior associate in tax is tedious, you will have a range of responsibilities that keeps your days interesting and different. For example, you can work on everything from cross-border transactions to mergers and acquisitions.
 
Real Estate
 
When you take on the role of junior associate in real estate, you are going to enjoy a variety of transactions. One day you may be dealing with mortgages or debts and the next you can be examining the closing materials on real estate. You will be collaborating with your team and the partners to represent clients. Thus, you can enjoy having responsibility from day one and putting your property law knowledge to the design.
 
Personal Planning
 
As a junior associate in personal planning, you will have an important role to play in representing beneficiaries and trustees of estates and trusts. You will be expected to interact with clients on a daily basis, as well as family members and advisors. You will use your legal knowledge and skills to draft a lot of important documents. This will include wills and trusts. You can also take part in court petitions and give general advice on personal planning matters to clients.
 
Exempt Organizations
 
A lot of law firms will have an exempt organizations associate available for clients. In other words, you are going to be part of an experienced team that will advise and represent organizations that are exempt from tax. This can include important corporate companies, as well as universities and even hospitals. Your daily tasks will vary but allow you to enjoy great responsibility as a junior associate. Matters can be complex and you will also have to work alongside senior associates depending on the venture. In addition, some of your clients may be involved in international matters and operate in some form abroad.

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