The Average Salary of Assistant US Attorneys

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    Entry-Level Assistant U.S. Attorneys

    • Attorneys hired straight out of college with no courtroom experience and only a law degree are placed at Step 1 of the GS-11 pay grade and receive base pay of $50,287 annually as of 2011, according to the Department of Justice. Those with advanced degrees, or a year of experience in a clerkship, may be placed into the salary schedule at Step 1 of pay grade GS-12 or GS-13, which earn base pay of $60,274 and $71,674, respectively.

    Experienced Assistant U.S. Attorneys

    • Assistant U.S. Attorneys who enter the Justice Department with experience in the practice start at a higher pay grade than recent graduates. Attorneys with less than a year's experience in the courtroom are hired at GS-11 pay --- $50,287 annually as of 2011 --- while those with 12 to 17 months experience start at GS-12 and earn $60,274 each year. Those with 18-29 months of experience start at GS-13, earning $71,674, while those who start with 30 months of experience begin work at the GS-14 pay grade and earn $84,697 annually. Attorneys with four or more years of experience start their career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at GS-15, and earn an average salary of $99,628. After four years, an assistant U.S. Attorney may be eligible to be promoted to GS-15 pay grades.

    Locality Pay

    • On top of the base pay, the U.S. Assistant Attorneys receive an additional stipend depending upon the city in which they work. This amount, which is indexed to a city's cost of living, is figured as a percentage of an attorney's base pay, and may vary between 9.44 and 35.15 percent of base pay.

    Comparison to U.S. Attorney Salary

    • As prescribed by 28 USC § 548, United States Attorneys are paid on the executive pay scale outlined by the Office of Personnel Management, and receive payment at the EX IV pay grade. As of fiscal year 2010, that rate's base pay is $155,500 annually as of 2011. Locality pay applies to United States Attorneys' earnings as well, with the same locality payment rates described for other federal employees.

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