An associate attorney is hired by a firm but is not an owner. They are the fresh hires, and need to pay their dues for 3-10 years before being welcomed in as a partner. As they bill for lower rates, they are often given what might be considered the "grunt work" of the firm, including research. They spend their time on the paperwork, and thereby get a feel for the field. With the "up or out" policy, associate attorneys are either promoted, until they move from junior to senior, and finally into partner, or they may be asked to resign if they failed to impress the firm.For this reason, they may work extra hours and do grueling work to prove themselves. Nevertheless, it is an opportunity to get your foot in the door and get some experience if you don't have any.
Here are a few sample associate attorney job descriptions:
The candidate should be licensed and in good standing in New Mexico with 5+ years of experience in litigation (commercial, defense litigation preferred). Extensive knowledge of litigation procedures in New Mexico, office applications and software, attention to detail, motivated and able to assist and support busy litigation team in large and complex litigation cases and trial essential. Experience in handling pretrial discovery, motion practice, trial preparation, and trial needed.
Associate Attorney - Chemistry
The candidate should have 2-4 years of experience. Must possess a degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering or equivalent. Ph.D. degree a plus. Should have strong academic credentials, as well as superior written and verbal communication skills. Must have a J.D. degree from an ABA-approved law school and be an active member in good standing of the Bar.
Associate Attorney - Environment, Energy and Resources
The candidate will work on administrative and appellate litigation, to include reviewing federal agency rules, preparing comments on proposed rules, and appealing agency rulemakings. Should be a junior to mid-level associate with environmental experience. Experience in one or more of the following areas is preferred: the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, federal transportation laws, Indian law, and public lands laws. Must have a J.D. degree from an ABA-approved law school and be an active member in good standing of the Bar.
Litigation Associate Attorney
The candidate must have a J.D. degree from an ABA-approved law school and be an active member in good standing of the Bar. Should have experience in all phases of insurance defense civil litigation and also governmental tort liability, insurance subrogation, commercial litigation and consultation of governmental entities in policy/procedure formulation and risk management.
The candidate should have 1-3 years of experience and a background in electrical engineering, computer engineering or computer science. Patent prosecution experience is preferred. Associates will work closely with clients and senior attorneys in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications, with opportunities available for involvement in opinion work and litigation. Admission to a state bar and to the USPTO are required. Must have a J.D. degree from an ABA-approved law school and be an active member in good standing of the Bar.
Associate Attorney - General Liability
The candidate must have a J.D. degree from an ABA-approved law school and be an active member in good standing of the Bar. Should have 1-3 years of experience with Insurance Defense, to join a General Liability defense litigation practice group.
Corporate Associate Attorney
The candidate should have 5-7 years of relevant corporate experience. Should have experience in one of more of the following areas: venture capital, private equity, public offerings, mergers & acquisitions, '34 Act compliance, and/or corporate governance. Must have superior academic credentials along with excellent verbal and written communication skills.