Every day in the life of a judge is a busy one. In order to focus on the weightiest part of his or her job, a judge depends on a clerk to assist with paperwork, like completing legal documents, conducting research and preparing reports.More than 12,000 judicial law clerks are employed in the United States. Only a four percent increase is expected over a 10-year span, which equals 250 new job openings each year.
Judicial Law Clerks Skills and Abilities
In order to work as a law clerk, you need extensive knowledge of law and legal processes. This includes familiarity with the democratic process, precedents, agency rules and court procedures in general, in addition to local laws, codes and regulations. As a judicial clerk, you’ll be doing a lot of administrative work in a legal setting, so you must be comfortable with administrative procedures, office technology and computers. You may even need to know how to produce various types of media for communication with the public and with peers. Each day in this occupation, you’ll use oral and written communication skills, analytical skills and inductive and deductive reasoning. You’ll have to be able to communicate very effectively in English and have superior listening skills. Stenography and transcription skills will also be useful for precisely recording information.
Judicial Law Clerks Duties
As a judicial law clerk, you will have to obtain, evaluate and interpret information in support of court operations. Your specific obligations may include:
- Compiling statistics, briefs, memoranda and reports and presenting them in a way that is easily understood
- Drafting, proofreading and distributing documents
- Researching relevant documents and standards
- Attending sessions of court and recording relevant information
- Compiling and maintaining law libraries
- Maintaining records of complaints, files and important dates
- Entering data and filing paperwork
- Coordinating schedules and calendars for judges and others
- Supervising volunteers and law students
- Keeping a team running smoothly
- Making sure that each party has access to and understands relevant information
- Using logic and reasoning when listening and speaking
- Swearing in witnesses and jury members
- Conveying information to others by various means
- Creating documents and informational pieces that interest and inform
- Actively listening to information, instructions and arguments
- Researching law and precedents and understanding how these apply to the case at hand
- Asking appropriate questions
- Keeping up with law and policy changes
Judicial Law Clerks Tools and Technology
You will need to be familiar with word processing and scheduling software, project management software, databases and information search programs. You will use basic office machines, such as computers, printers, fax machines and copiers.
Education and Training for Judicial Law Clerks
You will need a doctoral or professional law degree in order to wok as a judicial law clerk. Part of your education leading up to this degree will involve practical training and work experience, so there is typically no on-the-job training once you are hired as a clerk.
Judicial Law Clerks Salary
Most judicial law clerks earn between $29,100 and $83,600 per year. The median salary is $48,600, meaning that half of people in this position earn more and half earn less. In some states the median salary is higher or lower than this figure.
Judicial Law Clerks Jobs by Geography
At $121,300 per year, New York is the state with the highest median wage for judicial law clerks. Connecticut report the second highest median wage at $71,600. Six other states, including Nevada, California and North Dakota, each report median wages greater than $50,000. California has the most judicial law clerks, and expects an 11 percent increase over 10 years. A total of eight states project at least a 10 percent increase over the same 10-year period.