Law clerks work under the direction of lawyers and have been called “the unsung heroes of the judicial process” by one judge. Clerks work in a number of different types of offices including private law firms, corporations, banks, government agencies, and insurance companies. They have to have practical knowledge in how to conduct legal research and analysis and they are well versed in some theoretical aspects of the law. Those who train to be law clerks will also build knowledge in areas such as real estate, litigation, estates and corporate law, among others.
Often, the right personal and professional traits are just as important to your career success as your familiarity with the law. This may be because no matter what kind of office you work for, your tasks will demand the same kind of commitment from you. Here are a few characteristics that make law clerks indispensible.
1. It Helps to Be Intellectually Curious
Although law clerks perform many administrative tasks, they must also get to know each case or situation they are working on in detail. Law clerk courses provide a solid foundation upon which to build your knowledge and a curious instinct will carry a law clerk a long way. If you are excited to do research and learn about every detail within the files you work on, the lawyers you work for will notice and appreciate it.
A lot of learning will happen on the job, of course. Your curiosity about how a firm handles all of its cases as well as a desire to know any given case inside-out may mean that you catch a detail the lawyers miss.
2. A Law Clerk Program Can Help Get You Organized
Being a student in a law clerk program requires a high level of organizational skills to keep track of course materials and a job as a law clerk demands the same. Those who can appreciate an organized structure, procedure or system will excel as clerks. It is possible that a clerk will work for brilliant but disorganized lawyers who rely on them to know where relevant details, documents and research of a case are located at all times.
Also, clerks will have to work for lawyers who are working under tight deadlines and a penchant for organization will support you in almost all tasks.
3. Clerks Need to Balance Independence with Being a Team Player
It may take some time working at a particular office, but a clerk should be able to anticipate the tasks that need to be done for a case and eventually be able to do their work without extra guidance from those they work for.
While clerks act under supervision they also have to be able to do a large workload independently. They should know how to check court dates, provide relevant background information, create the proper documents and memos, and more. The more work they get done, the more the lawyers can get done. At the same time it is important to know when to seek guidance or bring something to the attention of others. Clerks must know their role as well as their function within a team in order to build a long lasting career.
Interested in pursuing a law clerk diploma?
Contact Canadian Business College for more information.