What Does The Title “Managing Associate” Actually Mean?

The path of law is not an easier one, whether you are filing a suit, facing one, or working as a professional lawyer. A lawyer works on behalf of different clients as per the case and circumstances.

There are different fields within law like any other industry. Some lawyers deal with corporate legal matters, while others specialize in family laws. Many work for human rights lawsuits and so on.

Unlike other industries and business entities, an employee working with a law firm has not to stay an employee forever.

The model of law firms is slightly different from other business entities. As you advance in your career as a lawyer, get to work with bigger clients, bring in business on your credibility, and have good performance, you are promoted.

The promotions go up to managing partners, where ownership is shared with lawyers who are a law firm’s assets.

However, a lot of positions and stages are between the managing partner and junior associate. Managing Associate is also a more specific term for law firms than any other industry.

What is it? What are the competencies and responsibilities of a managing associate? Is it the same as managing partners?

All of these questions will be answered in this article. Besides, we will also discuss which countries have the role of managing associates in the hierarchy and which countries do not have any such position. So let’s get into it.

What Is a Managing Associate?

A managing associate is a term that is often used when discussing the hierarchy of a law firm. In many BigLaw firms, a managing associate is,

The competent lawyer with 4+ years of post-qualification experience, good clientage, and excellent performance is given the position of Managing Associate. Managing associate is the position between the junior and senior associate.

How managing associate position was created, and what is the story behind it?

The position of managing associate has not existed forever. In fact, it was invented to recognize the good performance of junior associates who are still not eligible for the post of senior associate.

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The Managing Associate position is the brainchild of Addleshaw Goddard Law Firm’s HR director, Judith Hardy.

The firm created the post and was effective after September 1st, 2007. The company’s HR management decided to reward high-achieving lawyers with 4+ years PQE with pay raise of 5000 pounds, two additional holidays, and a new position.

The law firm integrated the position into its job framework, and 134 lawyers were promoted to managing associates across the firm’s national network.

According to the HR director, the firm already had enough senior associates working while a good number of junior associates were performing well enough to be promoted to the next level.

Afterward, other UK law firms also started integrating similar positions in the framework of their jobs to reward the growing talent. And it’s how the position of managing associate became common among several law firms.

Managing Associate Vs. Management Associate

Is managing associate and management associate the same?

The answer is no!

A managing associate is a term that is specifically used for law firms. The managing associate handles different lawsuits, communicates with clients, and so on.

On the other hand, the role of the management associate is administrative. This position is not specific to any industry and can be created by any firm, small or big, manufacturing or services.

The responsibility of a management associate is to assist the management operations, look over administrative and clerical tasks, and coordinate with other departments for project support to meet the organizational objectives.

Management associates can belong to any department and field of study depending on the firm and industry.

Managing Associate Vs. Managing Partner

Is managing to associate the same as managing partner?

Well, the answer is No in this case as well.

Although the terms managing associate and managing partner are specific to law firms, the two positions are not equal or equal. The managing associate of any law firm is between the junior and senior associate. On the other hand, the managing partner is way above the senior associate.

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The managing partner of any law firm is entitled to ownership of the firm. A managing partner is a high-ranking position in the hierarchy of power.

He has an administrative role as well. However, a managing associate is just an employee of the law firm. Therefore, you must know that the managing partner is senior to the managing associate in a law firm.

What Is the Salary of a Managing Associate?

The national average salary of a managing associate lawyer in the United Kingdom is around £94,382 per year. The average additional cash compensation is £10,421 with a range of £2,142 – £50,697

Job Description Of A Managing Associate

The job description of a managing associate will vary from firm to firm. However, a general job description and duties of a managing associate will be as follow:

  • Provide technically accurate and complex guidance to clients without a review of other seniors
  • Broad and deep knowledge of specialized practice area and law of his jurisdiction
  • Contribute to knowledge management in conjunction with seniors/partners of teams
  • Collate and maintain billing information
  • Actively generating business for the team and jurisdiction by attracting new clients and retaining existing clients
  • A detailed business development plan that is reviewed, updated and executed with continuity
  • Managing client feedback and ensuring client satisfaction
  • Team awareness of WIP and debt with Partner of the team
  • Performance review of junior members in the team
  • Be available and approachable to the team and free earners
  • Management, development, and coaching of the team properly

Competencies Of A Managing Associate

What skills, competencies, and abilities must a lawyer have to fulfill the responsibilities of a managing associate?

Here is the general description of what skills a managing associate is expected to possess:

  • 4+ years of post-qualification experience as a qualified lawyer
  • Experience in relevant law firm environment with good performance over past financial years
  • Good decision-making skills
  • Demonstration of the highest standards of professional knowledge and abilities
  • Maintain and develop productive working relationships with others
  • Be an authority in your jurisdiction and area of specialization
  • Be able to prepare and present professional training seminars and presentations when required; externally or internally
  • Understandability of market development and its impact on clients
  • Effective leadership and self-motivation qualities
  • Positive approach toward change and implementing change to achieve organizational goals
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Law Firm Titles In the UK

There are different job titles and positions in law firms in the UK. However, if we talk about the relevant job titles, the hierarchy goes as follows:

  • Associate Attorney: 2-6 years of experience as a qualified lawyer in the practice areas.
  • Managing Associate: 4+ PQE in a specialized area and ability to demonstrate a high level of professional knowledge
  • Senior Associate Attorney
  • Counsel and Partner: Senior associate attorneys and managing associates can contest for elections of partnerships. Partners are leaders and experts in their fields with a portion of ownership in a law firm.

Law Firm Titles In the USA

If we look into the job titles of lawyers in law firms in the USA, they are as follows:

  • Associate: employee of a firm who gets an annual bonus based on his performance
  • Of-Counsel: a senior attorney who is not building his own portfolio but working with clients or partners.
  • Partner(nonequity): Senior attorneys who get a salary and do not have enough business development on their own to get the ownership portion of the firm.
  • Partner(equity): shareholder in the firm who gets quarterly profits, has his own huge book of clients and expertise
  • Managing Partner: administrative and leadership roles in the firm beyond law practice
  • Name Partner: the partner whose name is on the door

Final Words

We have discussed the role of managing associate, the need for the position, and how the role has evolved over time.

The managing associate might not be a much-celebrated role in law firms and might get blurred under the umbrella of associates and attorneys, but it is a well-paid and respectful position that experienced and qualified lawyers are entitled to.