A staff attorney is a legal professional responsible for handling the day-to-day legal matters of an organization. They apply their legal expertise to analyze and write reports regarding complex legal issues. To do this, they perform research, carry out pre-litigation analyses, and draft their legal opinions to assist senior lawyers in their cases. They usually report to the head of legal or senior legal managers.

Staff attorneys typically work at law firms or corporate organizations within the legal department. One may focus on a particular area of law or work as a generalist. Depending on the area of specialty, a staff attorney works closely with other professionals in their line of work. A successful staff attorney should be well-versed in current legal trends, and they should have research skills, communication skills, and attention to detail.

What Does a Staff Attorney Do

There are certain skills that many staff attorneys have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills.

Learn more about what a Staff Attorney does

How To Become a Staff Attorney

If you're interested in becoming a staff attorney, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 37.9% of staff attorneys have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 4.5% of staff attorneys have master's degrees. Even though most staff attorneys have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Staff Attorney

Staff Attorney Career Paths

Average Salary for a Staff Attorney

Staff Attorneys in America make an average salary of $110,028 per year or $53 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $173,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $69,000 per year.
Average Staff Attorney Salary
$110,028 Yearly
$52.90 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?


Staff Attorney Education

Staff Attorney Majors

56.7 %

Staff Attorney Degrees


56.4 %


37.9 %


4.5 %

Top Colleges for Staff Attorneys

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

3. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

5. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition

6. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

7. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition

8. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

10. University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN • Private

In-State Tuition

Top Skills For a Staff Attorney

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 28.8% of staff attorneys listed legal advice on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Staff Attorney Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Staff Attorney templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Staff Attorney resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Staff Attorney Demographics

Staff Attorney Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among staff attorneys, 52.5% of them are women, while 47.5% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among staff attorneys is White, which makes up 79.7% of all staff attorneys.

  • The most common foreign language among staff attorneys is Spanish at 53.1%.

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Best States For a Staff Attorney

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a staff attorney. The best states for people in this position are California, New York, Colorado, and Connecticut. Staff attorneys make the most in California with an average salary of $132,651. Whereas in New York and Colorado, they would average $114,455 and $111,781, respectively. While staff attorneys would only make an average of $109,256 in Connecticut, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Staff Attorney Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. New York

Total Staff Attorney Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Massachusetts

Total Staff Attorney Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Staff Attorneys

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Top Staff Attorney Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ staff attorneys and discovered their number of staff attorney opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that The Legal Aid Society was the best, especially with an average salary of $67,157. United States Courts follows up with an average salary of $70,875, and then comes UAW with an average of $99,211. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a staff attorney. The employers include The Hartford, Disability Rights California, and My Florida Regional Mls

Most Common Employers For Staff Attorney

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Boies Schiller Flexner$189,919$91.3123
2Simpson Thacher & Bartlett$179,323$86.2123
4Covington & Burling$176,321$84.7723
5Labaton Sucharow$157,810$75.8726
6King & Spalding$150,856$72.5318
7U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission$131,224$63.0930
10The Hartford$91,053$43.7833

Becoming a Staff Attorney FAQs

Staff Attorney vs Associate

A staff attorney is a lawyer who performs services for a specific firm, company, or organization, while an associate is a lawyer at a law firm that is new to the industry.

A staff attorney may work for many different kinds of organizations, including corporations, academic institutions, non-for-profits, and government entities. They also may specialize in one particular area of the law or may work in a more general capacity.

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