A law clerk has different roles that do not necessarily just involve legal research for law firms, but include judicial clerkship roles that can provide an interesting and well paid law jobs with a career trail that can provide multiple options.
A law clerk in the US generally involves a role assisting a judge in the state court or a federal court to research and assist in the preparation of court proceedings which entails a wide range of legal matters and often going from one wildly different area of law to another. The range of skills required for a good law clerk working in a municipal, state or federal court is wide. There will be legal research, memoranda preparation and organizing files and other legal documents, case citation checks and research, court attendances to assist a judge with his or her cases.
A good law clerk therefore will have wide ranging knowledge of legal matters and a good qualification, commencing with a bachelor’s degree, as outlined below.
They play an extremely important role in the judicial process and requite good legal research and writing skills. Among the typical roles undertaken by a law clerk working in the judicial scene are reviewing litigation briefs and documents, liasing with court staff and lawyers, reviewing legal briefs submitted to court and more.
Clearly this is a high-interest job, particularly for those working at key state or federal level roles. A judicial law clerk is someone who truly plays a key role in the judicial process in ways that many would not understand. But with the right skillset and attitude, combined with an aptitude for details and writing, the job can be rewarding and fascinating all at once.
Outside of the United States, law clerks may also involve roles that are not centered on the judiciary, but also to lawyers working in private law firms.
They are still law clerks with the same skills as those working for judges, but they are working on legal matters within the firm or for litigators, including barristers, who handle court work. The need for legal research, administration and reading and assessing briefs remains key elements of a good law clerk in any of these roles.
According to one website the key requirements to become a law clerk are to possess organizational skills, legal research skills, word processing and online case management ability.
They are distinct from paralegals, who actually help lawyers prepare cases for court although there can be an overlap of work undertaken by both groups
What Qualifications Are Required To Become A Law Clerk?
In order to become a law clerk the general requirement is an undergraduate degree, being a bachelor’s degree (requiring four year’s undergraduate study) and this may be in areas like history, political science or English before applying to a law school.
There is no specific degree provided by the law schools but they will accept those with good marks in their undergraduate (BS) degree.
Before admission the student must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) which they need to pass and generally to join the Credential Assembly Service which provides the law school with grades, LSAT scores, the important (ungraded) essay and other information.
It is clear that academic application and clear writing skills are requisite requirements before obtaining a law school admission.
A Juris Doctor degree is then earned at the law school and which involves three years full time study. Those seeking roles as law clerks will typically focus upon the research and writing aspects of the course.
Upon graduation a law clerk will also generally pass the bar exam and those who obtain a position of law clerk may not always have passed the bar exam but any law clerk program will require that they do so, particularly for judicial law clerk positions.
How To Get A Great Law Clerk Job
One of the best things any aspiring law clerk should do is also work in a law firm while undertaking their BS or JD study.
By obtaining experience with research and to develop a good sense of analytical reasoning during their study is to actually work within the practice of law or any other legal field in order to develop knowledge and good communication skills.
Obtaining a job that is a prestigious clerkship will reward those with a background in the legal industry who is familiar with the court system, legal practice, the legal system and key areas of law like criminal law, constitutional law and similar.
Law Clerk Experience
Working within law offices can provide superb experience in understanding legal procedure, oral argument, key legal issues and just about every type of law available.
Grasping the opportunity to work and understand how the legal system operates will be valuable experience that can lead to the sort of clerkship that in turn provides an interesting, rewarding occupation.
As mentioned, in other jurisdictions, a law clerk may work only in a law firm or in some administrative capacity with government agencies or elsewhere handling various types of legal work and clerical work, without necessarily working in as a judicial law clerk.
For some of these jurisdictions a high school diploma or similar qualification may be all that is necessary to obtain the legal work experience that will lead to the sort of clerkship that you desire.
For those who are ambitious and focused on a top legal career, working as a judicial clerk within the judicial system can certainly provide the opportunity to obtain a top job in a law firm or working at the highest level working with Supreme Court justices or some similar role.