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Working As A Litigation Associate

  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $218,623

    Average Salary

What Does A Litigation Associate Do

A Litigation Associate offers legal advice for individuals involved in lawsuits and represents them in court. They prepare pleading, collect evidence, defend depositions, and manage the client database.

How To Become A Litigation Associate

All lawyers must have a law degree and must also typically pass a state’s written bar examination.

Education

Becoming a lawyer usually takes 7 years of full-time study after high school—4 years of undergraduate study, followed by 3 years of law school. Most states and jurisdictions require lawyers to complete a juris doctor (J.D.) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). ABA accreditation signifies that the law school—particularly its curricula and faculty—meets certain standards.

A bachelor’s degree is required for entry into most law schools, and courses in English, public speaking, government, history, economics, and mathematics are useful.

Almost all law schools, particularly those approved by the ABA, require applicants to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This test measures applicants’ aptitude for the study of law.

A J.D. degree program includes courses such as constitutional law, contracts, property law, civil procedure, and legal writing. Law students may choose specialized courses in areas such as tax, labor, and corporate law.

Licenses

Prospective lawyers take licensing exams called "bar exams." When a lawyer receives their license to practice law, they are "admitted to the bar."

To practice law in any state, a person must be admitted to the state’s bar under rules established by the jurisdiction’s highest court. The requirements vary by individual states and jurisdictions. For more details on individual state and jurisdiction requirements, visit the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Most states require that applicants graduate from an ABA-accredited law school, pass one or more written bar exams, and be found by an admitting board to have the character to represent and advise others. Prior felony convictions, academic misconduct, or a history of substance abuse are just some factors that may disqualify an applicant from being admitted to the bar.

Lawyers who want to practice in more than one state often must take the bar exam in each state.

After graduation, lawyers must keep informed about legal developments that affect their practices. Almost all states require lawyers to participate in continuing legal education either every year or every 3 years. 

Many law schools and state and local bar associations provide continuing legal education courses that help lawyers stay current with recent developments. Courses vary by state and generally cover a subject within the practice of law, such as legal ethics, taxes and tax fraud, and healthcare. Some states allow lawyers to take their continuing education credits through online courses. 

Advancement

Newly hired attorneys usually start as associates and work with more experienced lawyers. After several years, some lawyers may be admitted to partnership of their firm, which means they become partial owners of the firm.

After gaining a few years of work experience, some lawyers go into practice for themselves or move to the legal department of a large corporation. Very few in-house attorneys are hired directly out of law school.

A small number of experienced lawyers are nominated or elected to judgeships. Other lawyers may become full-time law school faculty and administrators. For more information about judges and law school faculty, see the profile on judges and hearing officers and the profile on postsecondary teachers.

Other Experience

Law students often gain practical experience by participating in school-sponsored legal clinics, in a school’s moot court competitions, in practice trials under the supervision of experienced lawyers and judges, and through research and writing on legal issues for a school’s law journals.

Part-time jobs or summer internships in law firms, government agencies, and corporate legal departments also provide valuable experience. Some smaller firms, government agencies, and public interest organizations may hire students as summer associate interns after they have completed their first year at law school. Many larger firms’ summer internship programs are only eligible to law students who have completed their second year. These experiences can help law students decide what kind of legal work they want to focus on in their careers, and these internships may lead directly to a job after graduation.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Lawyers help their clients resolve problems and issues. As a result, they must be able to analyze large amounts of information, determine relevant facts, and propose viable solutions.

Interpersonal skills. Lawyers must win the respect and confidence of their clients by building a trusting relationship, so that clients feel comfortable enough to share personal information related to their case.

Problem-solving skills. Lawyers must separate their emotions and prejudice from their clients’ problems and objectively evaluate the matter. Therefore, good problem-solving skills are important for lawyers, to prepare the best defense and recommendation.

Research skills. Preparing legal advice or representation for a client commonly requires substantial research. All lawyers need to be able to find what applicable laws and regulations apply to a specific matter.

Speaking skills. Clients hire lawyers to speak on their behalf. Lawyers must be able to clearly present and explain their case to arbitrators, mediators, opposing parties, judges, or juries. 

Writing skills. Lawyers need to be precise and specific when preparing documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney.

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Litigation Associate jobs

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Litigation Associate Demographics

Gender

  • Male

    49.2%
  • Female

    48.4%
  • Unknown

    2.4%

Ethnicity

  • White

    80.3%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    8.8%
  • Asian

    8.3%
  • Unknown

    2.0%
  • Black or African American

    0.5%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    43.1%
  • French

    15.7%
  • Italian

    5.9%
  • Chinese

    5.9%
  • Mandarin

    5.2%
  • German

    4.6%
  • Russian

    3.3%
  • Portuguese

    3.3%
  • Japanese

    2.6%
  • Korean

    2.0%
  • Cantonese

    2.0%
  • Greek

    1.3%
  • Swahili

    0.7%
  • Swedish

    0.7%
  • Telugu

    0.7%
  • Turkish

    0.7%
  • Romanian

    0.7%
  • Gujarati

    0.7%
  • Hindi

    0.7%
  • Dutch

    0.7%
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Real Litigation Associate Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Litigation Associate Richards Kibbe & ORBE LLP New York, NY Feb 09, 2015 $295,000
Litigation Associate Richard Kibbe & ORBE LLP New York, NY Nov 23, 2012 $280,000
Litigation Associate Richards Kibbe & ORBE LLP New York, NY Nov 23, 2012 $280,000
Litigation Associate Richards Kibbe & ORBE LLP New York, NY Nov 23, 2010 $265,000
Litigation Associate Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz New York, NY Aug 18, 2015 $255,000
Mid-Level Intellectual Property Litigation Associate Ropes & Gray LLP New York, NY Sep 04, 2015 $250,000
Litigation Associate Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz New York, NY Aug 18, 2014 $235,000
Mid-Level Intellectual Property Litigation Associate Ropes and Gray LLP New York, NY Oct 27, 2014 $230,000 -
$250,000
Mid-Level Associate/Intellectual Property Litigation Sidley Austin (Us) LLP Washington, DC Oct 28, 2015 $230,000
Patent Litigation Associate Kirkland & Ellis LLP New York, NY Apr 18, 2016 $230,000
Mid-Level Associate/Intellectual Property Litigation Sidley Austin LLP Washington, DC Jan 03, 2016 $230,000
Mid-Level Intellectual Property Litigation Associate Ropes and Gray LLP New York, NY Dec 05, 2014 $230,000 -
$250,000
Litigation Associate Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz New York, NY Mar 21, 2016 $215,000
Mid-Level Associate, Intellectual Property Litigation Davis Polk & Wardwell New York, NY Jul 24, 2015 $210,000
Financial Institutions Regulatory, Enforcement and Litigation Associate Bingham McCutchen LLP New York, NY Nov 25, 2014 $210,000
IP Litigation Lateral Associate Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP Palo Alto, CA Jun 13, 2011 $185,000
Associate (Attorney), IP Litigation McDermott Will & Emery LLP New York, NY Mar 05, 2014 $175,000
Associate (Attorney), IP Litigation McDermott Will & Emery LLP New York, NY Jun 27, 2011 $175,000
Litigation Associate Davis Wright Tremaine LLP New York, NY Oct 01, 2011 $175,000
Associate, Litigation Ropes & Gray LLP Washington, DC Sep 30, 2015 $170,000
Associate, Intellectual Property Litigation Group Kirkland & Ellis LLP Palo Alto, CA Jan 02, 2016 $170,000
Litigation Associate Covington & Burling LLP Washington, DC Oct 01, 2011 $170,000
Litigation Associate Mayer Brown LLP Washington, DC Apr 15, 2016 $161,741 -
$250,000
Litigation Associate Kobre and Kim LLP New York, NY Aug 22, 2016 $160,000
Associate, IP Litigation Alston & Bird, LLP East Palo Alto, CA Aug 31, 2016 $160,000
Litigation Associate Covington & Burling LLP New York, NY Aug 01, 2015 $160,000
Litigation Associate (Awaiting Admission) Covington & Burling LLP New York, NY Aug 01, 2015 $160,000
Litigation Associate Covington & Burling LLP Washington, DC Jun 01, 2010 $160,000
Litigation Associate Covington & Burling LLP Washington, DC Sep 07, 2010 $160,000

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Top Skills for A Litigation Associate

DiscoveryMotionsPre-TrialMotionsLitigationMattersCounselSummaryJudgmentMotionsFederalCourtsPersonalInjuryProductsLiabilityExtensiveLegalResearchRealEstateLitigationCivilLitigationStateCourtsClassActionBankruptcyMotionPracticeOralArgumentIntellectualPropertyDispositiveMotionsInsuranceDefenseMedicalMalpractice

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Top Litigation Associate Skills

  1. Discovery Motions
  2. Pre-Trial Motions
  3. Litigation Matters
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Appeared in state and federal court for case management conferences, contested dispositive motions, and discovery motions.
  • Drafted pleadings, discovery, documents for law and motion, and trial documents for pre-trial motions and jury instructions.
  • Worked as litigation attorney responsible for large caseload of diverse civil litigation matters.
  • Supervised outside counsel of a nationwide finance company in consumer disputes involving credit reporting and debt collection.
  • Prepared and won numerous summary judgment motions in multiple jurisdictions.

Top Litigation Associate Employers

Litigation Associate Videos

A Day in the Life of a Waller Lansden Associate - James Bowden

Career Advice on becoming a Senior Associate - Corporate Law by Helen A (Full Version)

Attorney, Securities Litigation, Career Video from drkit.org

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