What is an Associate Attorney?

By Danielle C. Davis, Esq.

An option when hiring a lawyer is hiring an associate within a firm.  “Associate Attorneys” are attorneys who are constantly learning, developing, and growing in either the field of law generally, or in a new practice area.     They simply have not been practicing as long as their counterparts who have obtained the titles of “Senior Associate” or “Partner.”

Associate attorneys bring a wealth of value to their clients. They are often billed at lower rates than the more experienced attorneys in their field, yet they are surrounded by excellent professionals (either within their own firm, or through a wonderful variety of mentorship programs) of whom they have the ability to ask questions and benefit from their hard-earned insight and knowledge. In this way, a client who has hired an Associate Attorney gets the value of a dedicated and committed attorney, who focuses on their case with new and eager eyes, while also receiving the benefit of untold years of practical knowledge from mentors and senior attorneys.

Each client that hires me comes with his/her own unique and complex story, and it is my responsibility to represent that specific client to the best of my ability. My title of “Associate Attorney” doesn’t change the quality of representation that these clients expect, and it shouldn’t.

As an Associate Attorney, I am required to learn new facets of the law, strategy, and professionalism with every case that I am involved with, and I must be ready for anything. It is also my responsibility to rise and meet every new challenge with honesty, integrity, and decorum. When a new situation presents itself, I must be willing to ask questions and seek the advice of those attorneys that have answers. If a client asks me a question for which I do not immediately have an answer, I am honest. I communicate with my client, research the issue, and respond after I am fully informed. And this, I believe, is the most important role of an Associate Attorney. Communicator.

So, what does it mean to be an Associate Attorney? It means being a confident, skilled, lawyer that is ready to learn, grow, and communicate, while also providing a valuable service to clients and representing them with authority, passion, and absolute professionalism.