Associate solicitor job description
From trainee solicitor to senior partner, it can be difficult to understand the responsibilities of lawyers at the different stages of the legal hierarchy. Here, we outline everything you need to know about the role of an associate solicitor.
Associate solicitors – who are they?
Associate solicitors are one step above trainees and are considered newly qualified lawyers. Even though they have a supervisor and their work is overlooked by senior associates or partners, they are qualified to provide legal advice to clients.
Whilst they are fully fledged solicitors, associates are still expected to develop their legal skills and build up experience throughout their time at the firm. You may earn promotion to senior associate solicitor if you are able to demonstrate the ability to take on more responsibilities and perform week in and week out.
How do I become one?
In order to become an associate solicitor in the UK, you need to follow the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) guidelines to qualifying as a lawyer.
This involves passing the Legal Practice Course (LPC) following the completion of a law degree or the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). You will also need to do two years’ worth of work experience on a training contract with a private practice or an in-house legal team before you earn your qualification.
What are an associate solicitor’s responsibilities?
As an associate solicitor, your primary responsibility will be to assist the work of senior associates and partners. However, responsibilities and tasks will increase as you gain experience in the role.
Although supervised, you will be assigned clients to manage their legal issues from the beginning until the end of the process. Associate solicitors collect information and data about clients’ cases and identify the laws that concern them. Subsequently, you will be required to draft out litigation strategies.
You will also have to collect evidence for the cases you’re dealing with, which involves doing extensive research in a particular area of law.
Since you have a supervisor in the form of a senior associate or a partner, you could be asked to assist them with more complicated cases. In addition to supporting them with research, you might also be double-checking that documentations are in order and everything is in place to meet the client’s needs.
As a qualified solicitor, you could also be acting as a supervisor, overseeing the work of trainees and paralegals.
What skills do I need?
In order to succeed as an associate solicitor, you need possess a range of skills.
As you will be working in conjunction with senior associates and partners, you need to be able to meet tight deadlines. Since you will also have to deal simultaneously with your own clients, you must have good time management skills and the ability to balance responsibilities. This will also require you to be a good communicator, whether you need to pass on information to employees or clients.
A lot of your work will involve doing research independently. This is a vital skill to develop during your time as an associate, as in higher up positions you will need to be able to carry out tasks without being supervised.
When reading legal documents, you must have a good attention to detail as any mistakes you make could put your and the firm’s reputation on the line.
How much would I earn?
Depending on the type of legal firm they work for, associate solicitors earn around £40,000. However, this figure can rise to as much as £60,000 for those who work at large international and City firms that specialise in financial law.
What can I do with a Law Degree?