what does a lawyer do as a clerk?

by Dr. Abdullah Doyle DDS 4 min read

An Attorney Law Clerk helps attorneys by assembling and organizing information for legal documents. They research and analyze law sources to prepare drafts of briefs or arguments for review and approval. Take a few minutes to create or upgrade your resume. Browse through our resume examples to identify the best way to word your resume.

“Law clerks, also called judicial assistants, help lawyers and/or judges in case management, drafting of opinions and orders, conducting legal research, procedural requirements, verifying case citations and determining legal alternatives or options,” explains Collen Clark, an attorney at Schmidt & Clark.Nov 1, 2021

Full Answer

What are the duties of a law clerk?

Law Clerks typically have certain prerequisite skills or certifications, which include:

  • Excellent research skills
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality at all times
  • Knowledge of compliance laws
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Ability to prepare memos and decisions
  • Strong attention to detail

What is the job description of a legal clerk?

What is a Legal Clerk?

  • Basic Concept. Filing and researching records are important duties of a legal clerk. ...
  • Legal Work. Legal clerks may schedule client meetings for an attorney. ...
  • Getting Started and Finding Positions. Most courts and firms have a streamlined and systematic process for hiring legal clerks, and in most cases it’s cyclical; applications are accepted at the ...

Why should you should become a lawyer?

  • Opportunity to Help Others. Furtherance of public good and ensuring justice and fair treatment to all and sundry in the society by duly helping individuals, groups and organizations with their ...
  • Knowledge of the law. ...
  • Command over speech. ...

What to know before becoming a lawyer?

The woman told Arthur she had uterine cancer. Before long, they were discussing what her funeral could look like, the family she'd leave behind, and all the things she wanted to do before she died.


What does a law clerk actually do?

Performing legal research and advise judge and other members of the legal team on the facts of a case prior to the oral argument. Drafting trial briefs and other legal documents. Reviewing and verify briefs and legal authority. Researching and write bench memoranda, order and opinions.

What does clerk mean in law?

As a noun, a clerk is a person who maintains or creates records—either a public official or a lesser official, holding a support role in an office or business. A law clerk is a young lawyer or law student who helps a licensed attorney or a judge with research and document drafting.

What's it like being a law clerk?

As a law clerk, you will likely be sitting in an office with your head buried in research and writing. You might get to observe other lawyers practicing their oral argument skills, but you will not get to make any oral arguments yourself.

What do you do in a clerkship?

Clerks are primarily responsible for reviewing the trial record, researching the applicable law, and drafting legal memoranda and court opinions. Clerks also attend oral arguments before the court. Students interested in a clerkship opportunity should apply during the fall semester of their second year.

What is another name for law clerk?

What is another word for legal clerk?notaryattorneynotary publicarticled clerksolicitor generalattorney generalcommissioner for oathsOfficial Solicitorlaw agentwriter to the Signet34 more rows

What is a clerkship in law school?

Judicial clerkships are postgraduate, full-time jobs which typically last one or two years. Clerks work for judges at all levels of the state and federal court systems, from trial courts to the courts of last resort.

Why do you want to be a law clerk?

Most lawyers change jobs during their career, and having a clerkship shows that you are a highly capable lawyer, improving your value regardless of the type of work you do. And, you will be more competitive for postgraduate fellowships, scholarships, internships, and government honors programs.

Why is clerkship important?

A clerkship allows you to experience a variety of cases with different substantive law and procedural issues that ultimately improves your general knowledge of law and its application. A clerkship will help you decide which practice area is right for you.

How do you answer why do you want to clerk?

Here are some good answers that can help you pass the test:“I want to clerk for you because you are a great mentor to your clerks.”“I want to clerk for you because I will have a chance to work on a certain type of cases.”“I have an interest in criminal work, and you allow your clerks to work on criminal cases.”More items...

Is clerkship the same as internship?

Answer: No. Clerkship refers to the clinical rotations undertaken during medical school. It forms part of your primary medical qualification and is a basic GMC requirement of an acceptable medical degree.

What do judges look for in clerks?

It varies. Some judges place great emphasis on grades, and grades are important, but they are not the most important factor for all judges. "I always make a Final decision after a personal interview, and, on balance, I prefer applicants who are well-rounded and have the ability to get along with other people.

What does it mean to clerk for a justice?

A judicial clerkship is typically a one- or two-year position in the chambers of a judge. A judicial clerk serves, in essence, as a judge's personal attorney, and judges typically place an enormous amount of reliance on the counsel of their clerks.

What is the difference between a paralegal and a law clerk?

Paralegals assist lawyers in preparing cases and complete administrative tasks. Law clerks support judges or lawyers by performing research. Paralegals work in law firms.

What do paralegals do?

Paralegals work for lawyers or attorneys directly. They prepare the paperwork that is needed in court, gather legal documents and assist with other legal duties. They also deal with clients and communicate with them during trials or court cases. A paralegal can also do research for their attorney and appear in court.

What is a law clerk in Australia?

A law clerk performs specialised clerical work associated with legal practice and law courts, with the exact nature of the work determined by the area of law their employer specialises in. Tasks include assisting lawyers with clerical and administrative tasks, and basic legal duties.

How much do law clerks make in Ontario?

$54,449 per yearThe average salary for a law clerk is $54,449 per year in Ontario.

What does a law clerk do?

What a law clerk does depends on the type of court they serve and the judge’s preference. As an assistant to a judge, this legal professional contributes directly to the judicial process. This position requires extensive knowledge about different areas of the law and court procedures.

How long does a law clerk serve?

Tax Court generally have the same duties and responsibilities as those as serving the trial courts. Law clerks serve judges one to two years on average before moving on in their careers.

What are the duties of a trial court clerk?

Trial court judicial clerks have direct involvement with litigation, and they assist the judge with court proceedings. They manage evidence, interact with courtroom staff, and review briefs submitted by the parties. Other duties include: 1 Taking witness statements 2 Serving subpoenas 3 Acting in a supervisory capacity 4 Helping with discovery disputes

How much does a law clerk make?

However, those in judicial law clerk positions may earn upwards of $97,000 per year. Experience and geographical location both help determine the salary earned. For instance, clerks for the state of New York earn more than those working for local courts in Pennsylvania.

How many law clerks can you get?

Each of the eight Associated Justices on the Supreme Court can select four law clerks each term.

What are the benefits of being a judicial clerk?

This includes holiday pay, vacation pay, sick pay, health insurance, and retirement plans.

How long does it take to become a law clerk?

To start, individuals must obtain a bachelor’s degree (B.S.), which involves four years of undergraduate study.

What is a law clerk?

A law clerk, sometimes called a judicial clerk or a judicial law clerk, is a legal professional who helps a judge or lawyer make legal decisions. A law clerk’s duties depend on whether they are a trial law clerk working in courts, an appellate law clerk working on civil and criminal appeals cases, or a law clerk working at a legal firm. Many law clerks share the following responsibilities: 1 Researching laws and legal precedents from past cases to guide a judge’s or lawyer’s decisions about current cases 2 Advising the judge and other legal team members of case facts before oral arguments 3 Managing evidence, taking statements from witnesses and providing additional assistance to judges during courtroom proceedings as requested 4 Drafting legal documents, including records of legal proceedings and trial briefs 5 Delivering subpoenas to witnesses and experts 6 Maintaining the chamber’s library if working in a courtroom setting

What do law clerks study?

Many law clerks study political science, English, economics, government, public speaking, mathematics and history courses. 2. Master’s degree. While it is not essential, many law clerks complete a master’s degree in a relevant field, such as general law or a specialized legal area. 3.

What software do law clerks use?

Experience using legal research software, including Westlaw and LexisNexis, is a quality that many employers seek. To research a case effectively, a law clerk should be able to locate needed information from a variety of documents, some of which have extensive legal terminology.

What is the job of a lawyer?

Advising the judge and other legal team members of case facts before oral arguments. Managing evidence, taking statements from witnesses and providing additional assistance to judges during courtroom proceedings as requested. Drafting legal documents, including records of legal proceedings and trial briefs.

How many hours do law clerks work?

As with most legal professions, law clerks should wear business professional attire at all times. Law clerks work full-time hours of at least 40 hours a week. Overtime hours are typical, especially when working on complex cases. Some law clerks will work overtime from home if possible.

Where do law clerks work?

Law clerks typically work in an office setting. These offices may be within courthouses, usually close to the judge’s chambers, or within law firms. They perform most of their duties in an office, although they’ll also spend time in the courtroom and, depending on their employer, the judge’s chambers.

What do you need to know to practice law after clerkship?

If you hope to practice law after your clerkship, attend a law school accredited by the American Bar Association.

Law Clerk Career Path

Learn how to become a Law Clerk, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Law Clerk Insights

Read what Law Clerk professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.

What are the similarities between a law clerk and an attorney?

Even though law clerks and attorneys have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require legal advice, legal documents, and pre-trial motions in the day-to-day roles. There are some key differences in responsibilities as well.

How much does a law clerk make?

Generally speaking, law clerks earn anywhere from $27,000 to $106,000 a year, which means that the top-earning law clerks make $79,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum. Once you've become a law clerk, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all.

How many law clerk jobs will be open in 2028?

In fact, the number of law clerk opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 50,100.

How many law clerks have a bachelor's degree?

We found that 60.1% of law clerks have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 5.2% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most law clerks have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's impossible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree.

How much more likely are attorneys to graduate with a masters degree than a law clerk?

Attorneys tend to reach similar levels of education than law clerks. In fact, attorneys are 4.5% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 6.6% less likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

Do law clerks get a degree?

Those law clerks who do attend college, typically earn either a law degree or a political science degree. Less commonly earned degrees for law clerks include a business degree or a history degree.

What Is A Law Clerk?

The American Bar Association is an organization for lawyers and those studying to be lawyers. The ABA has set standards for all law schools, which are the schools that teach law.

Law Clerk Education Requirements

Because there are so many court systems and state requirements, there are many different law clerk education requirements. Generally, law clerks must have a Juris Doctorate, a Masters’ Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree to be eligible for most law clerk positions, but this may not always be the case.

What Is The Career Path Of A Law Clerk?

Law clerks prepare case documents for lawyers, judges, or other legal professionals. They are the primary line of defense inside the courtroom, presenting judges with all of the records they want to make decisions. A law clerk usually works directly with a particular judge.

What Traits Should A Law Clerk Possess?

A law clerk should possess good analytical skills and should have the ability to take down dictation and then turn over minute’s bedside manner. It is important to know about the traits required for the same. First of all, Law Clerks should be intelligent and well-educated, not just from a university but also from a Law College.

Difference between a Law Clerk and a Lawyer

The difference between a regulation clerk and a criminal expert is the preliminary call to the bar. While the latter isn’t always, I would share the differences between a law clerk and a lawyer as a legal practitioner. Law clerks are the ones who understand the fundamentals of the law.

What Is The Difference Between A Law Clerk And A Legal Assistant?

The Law Clerk is working on the attorney’s cases and is helping the attorney with all the different case details. On the other hand, the legal assistant is working behind the scenes of the law office and is not directly involved with the clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

A legal assistant who works under a lawyer to help them with their work. They do research, go to court, conduct legal research, and write briefs.

What's the difference between a law clerk and a paralegal?

According to Galia Aharoni Schmidt, attorney at Aharoni Business Law, the confusion between both roles stems from a lack of clear definitions.

What does a paralegal do?

A paralegal is generally employed by a law firm or legal office for their ability to assist lawyers with nearly all aspects of legal work and case-handling,” says J. Harrison Fulk, an attorney at Cox & Fulk.

What does a law clerk do?

While some law clerks often do many of the same tasks as paralegals, they are generally used for more in-depth analysis and legal review alongside attorneys or with judges.

Where do these roles fit into the legal system?

Clark believes both law clerks and paralegals are essential to the practice of law.

What does it take to become a law clerk or paralegal?

The pathway for a law clerk is usually one that includes studying to become an attorney, and in most cases, completing a law degree, as well as passing the bar.

Is a legal career in your future?

Think a career working in the justice system sounds like a match for your skills and interests? Becoming a paralegal is an excellent way to get yourself established in this field in comparatively short order.

Where do law clerks work?

Typically, judicial law clerks will have their own office space, near the judge they are assigned to, in a courthouse. While they will surely spend a great deal of time there, a law clerk will spend a great deal of time all over the courthouse including the judge's chambers and the judge's courtroom. In addition to these locations, due ...

Why do law clerks help judges?

This complex research helps judges make the best decisions possible . Some law clerks also help to watch over courtroom proceedings , which includes organizing exhibits to be used during trials, analyzing complex legal issues and communicating with the judges staff, in and out of the courtroom.

How much does a judicial clerk make?

Judicial law clerk salary. The average salary for judicial law clerks in the United States is around $54,010 per year. Salaries typically start from $33,910 and go up to …. Read about Judicial law clerk salary.

What does a judicial clerk do?

A judicial law clerk can provide assistance to a judge in various ways. Despite the title of clerk, a law clerk's duties don't normally include the typical duties of other types of clerk such as filing, typing and making copies. Instead, judicial law clerks work as an assistant to a judge and help that judge make good legal decisions based on ...

Which countries have similar judicial clerks?

Countries where the roles of a judicial law clerk are similar to the United States include Mexico, the Philippines, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Singapore and Sweden.

Do law clerks go to law school?

Law clerks have typically completed law school, and get their start as a law clerk. Law students compete intensely for summer law clerk positions because law firms use these temporary worker slots to fill their future attorney job openings. Continue reading. See Also.

What are the duties of a court clerk?

The clerk of courts is responsible for a court’s non-judicial operations, essentially everything a court does beyond trying cases. According to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), common court clerk responsibilities include: 1 1 Preparing and issuing orders of the court (summonses, probation orders, other official documentation) 2 Preparing dockets of cases 3 Examine legal documents submitted to courts 4 Searching files and contacting witnesses, attorneys or litigants to obtain information for the court 5 Preparing staff schedules 6 Swearing in jury members, interpreters, witnesses or defendants 7 Instructing parties about the timing of court appearances

How does a court clerk work?

Court clerks work both in the state and federal court systems . At the state level, court clerks often have different roles depending on the unique guidelines put forth by the state. Like judgeships, leadership positions are often elected offices. In the federal system, such as the position held by Mitchell, the role of the clerk ...

What is the best way to become a court clerk?

Working as a court clerk can provide a rewarding lifelong career. An undergraduate education that emphasizes critical thinking and real-world skills can help build the foundation for that career . Utilizing college resources to pursue internships provides additional advantages as you plan your professional goals.

What education do I need to become a court clerk?

You might be surprised to find that despite all that’s on their plates, there are no official educational requirements for a court clerk beyond a high school diploma. That being said, preferences are likely to vary.

What is the average salary of a court clerk?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for court clerks in 2018 was $38,450. 2 Court clerk jobs are projected to grow 4 to 6 percent from 2018 to 2028—right on par with the average rate of employment growth for all occupations. 1

What are the non-judicial positions in the federal judiciary?

The Judiciary Act outlined three non-judge positions in each judicial district—the clerk of court, United States Marshal and United States attorney. The federal judiciary has changed over time, but as Mitchell states, “it was intended from the beginning that there was a person in each federal court who would manage non-judicial parts of court.”.

What is court administration?

Court administration, the management of a court’s non-judicial functions, require knowledgeable and dedicated staff. These administrative roles are not often in the forefront of our imagination, but are a keystone in the US judicial system. “These are good careers,” says Karen Mitchell, the clerk of courts for Northern District of Texas.


Law Clerk Salary

  • Salaries vary depending on the clerk's experience, whether they've yet been admitted to the bar, locality pay adjustments, and the type of clerk position—whether it's career, term, or temporary. Some state courts historically pay more than others, including New York, Connecticut, West Virgi…
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Education, Training, & Certification

  • The law clerk position involves fulfilling education and training requirements as follows: 1. Education:Candidates must have completed an undergraduate degree and a law degree. Because of the academic nature of the work and the prestige associated with clerkship positions, superior academic credentials often are a prerequisite to employment. This means top grades, law revie…
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Law Clerk Skills & Competencies

  • In addition to education and other requirements, candidates that possess the following skills may be able to perform more successfully in the job. Judicial clerkships are highly research- and writing-intensive positions. 1. Superior writing skills: These are necessary to draft concise, well-researched opinions, bench memoranda, and other legal documents. 2. Excellent research skills…
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Job Outlook

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for law clerk jobs relative to other occupations and industries is average. Employment is expected to grow by about 6% from 2016 to 2026, which is slightly slower growth than the average of 7% growth for all occupations between 2016 and 2026.
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Work Environment

  • Law clerks work in an office environment and spend a good deal of their time in face-to-face discussions with peers and supervisors. The job may be stressful for some, as it involves constant pressure to be accurate and exact.
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