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An associate is a junior or senior attorney who works for a professional organization, such as a law firm, or is employed by another attorney. They are not considered a partner or a member of a law firm. Associates may choose to be put on a non-partner track, if they aren’t interested in becoming a partner. 

There are also summer associates who are law students working for a firm as a legal intern during their summer breaks. Many firms fill their entry-level associate positions through their summer programs by making offers to summer associates to join after graduation. 

[Last updated in May of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]