Is an associate the same thing as a lawyer? The answer to that question depends on where and how you want to practice. While associates generally earn the same salary as counsel, partner salaries can vary widely. Many firms reward associates for referrals, but it can be risky to send your materials through a friend. A legal recruiter can help you make that choice, and many firms reward referrals with bonuses.
A lawyer with an associate status is still a newly-minted attorney, but he does not have the ownership interest of a partner. As an associate, you gain experience and responsibility and are generally assigned to more significant tasks and roles. Although you may not make partner immediately, associates usually take a number of years to progress. They are often given increasing responsibilities, such as working on legal documents. They may also participate in trial preparation, jury selection, and arguing cases in court.
Associate salaries differ by location, firm reputation, and skills. Salaries vary greatly, but typically an associate will earn between PS38,000 and PS54,500. If you are an NQ associate, you should expect to earn anywhere from PS38,000 to PS65,000 for your first year in law. If you are a second or third year, you may earn anywhere from PS61,000 to PS105,000 (though this range is much higher if you are in a big, successful law firm).