Law clerks are employees in a legal firm who handle clerical tasks for the office. They handle the office's official phone lines, answering incoming calls, and making outgoing calls. They also field office correspondence, often receiving incoming mail and distributing them to their addressees. They manage office documents and ensure that they are correctly filed and labeled in their respective storage bins. Law clerks help make office life more comfortable because they make sure that the office is running well. They also manage appointments and office calendars.

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Law Clerk Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real law clerk resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Hire specifically to perform legal research and write memorandums on probate cases, particularly those involving litigation.
  • Conduct legal research, draft various legal documents, including complaints, social security/disability appeals, settlement demand letters and subpoenas.
  • Research and draft affirmations in support, arbitration contentions, discovery responses, and attorney correspondence for insurance fraud litigation firm.
  • Value securities by performing company valuations utilizing DCF and multiples methods.
  • Develop valuation ranges using precedent transaction, comparable company, and DCF analyses
  • Utilize LexisNexis and WestlawNext search databases to conduct legal research and data analysis.
  • Research, analyze, and synthesize Probate/Estate administration issues utilizing LexisNexis and WestlawNext databases.
  • Prosecute several misdemeanors as a certify student attorney, represent the county in probate hearings.
  • Assist in discovery process and interview clients to obtain information for response to interrogatories submit by opposing counsel.
  • Prepare and revise drafts of opinions, including death penalty sentencing, and arbitration awards concerning municipal salaries and benefits.
  • Draft orders and reports and recommendations in cases involving employment discrimination, consumer protection statutes, and social security appeals.
  • Compile accurate information from other departments in order to answer complaints, interrogatories and other legal documents on a timely basis.
  • Analyze petitions for allowance of appeal, appellate briefs, and intermediate appellate opinions in preparing for disposition of discretionary appeals.
  • Branch out into some areas of civil practice, such as family law, plaintiff work, and civil defense.
  • Interview clients and handle inquiries regarding discovery and trial preparation; also communicate with opposing counsel and co-counsel; issue subpoenas.

Law Clerk Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a law clerk does, you may be wondering, "should I become a law clerk?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, law clerks have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 6% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of law clerk opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 50,100.

Law clerks average about $26.88 an hour, which makes the law clerk annual salary $55,916. Additionally, law clerks are known to earn anywhere from $27,000 to $114,000 a year. This means that the top-earning law clerks make $66,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a law clerk. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include an attorney, executive legal assistant, senior legal assistant, and litigation assistant.

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12 Law Clerk Resume Examples

Law Clerk Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 16% of Law Clerks are proficient in Litigation, Legal Issues, and Legal Memos. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Computer skills, and Interpersonal skills.

We break down the percentage of Law Clerks that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Litigation, 16%

    Conducted extensive research on capital punishment in Alabama, substantially expanding upon an ongoing project of the Capital Litigation Unit.

  • Legal Issues, 7%

    Conducted extensive legal research and drafted several sentencing memorandums and case summaries regarding complex legal issues.

  • Legal Memos, 7%

    Conducted legal research and prepared legal memos regarding legal and non-legal issues Drafted arbitration filings, complaints, and other litigation documents

  • Pre-Trial Motions, 6%

    Gained litigation experience by conducting preliminary hearings and pre-trial motions with the assistance of a supervising attorney.

  • Interrogatories, 4%

    Compiled accurate information from other departments in order to answer complaints, interrogatories and other legal documents on a timely basis.

  • Summary Judgment, 3%

    Drafted motions for summary judgment researched and prepared memorandum regarding medical records statute, and drafted interrogatories.

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"litigation," "legal issues," and "legal memos" aren't the only skills we found law clerks list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of law clerk responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Law clerks are also known for interpersonal skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a law clerk resume: "lawyers must win the respect and confidence of their clients by building a trusting relationship so that clients feel comfortable enough to share personal information related to their case." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "established oral argument and public speaking techniques as well as effective interpersonal, written & oral communication skills. "
  • A thorough review of lots of resumes revealed to us that "research skills" is important to completing law clerk responsibilities. This resume example shows just one way law clerks use this skill: "lawyers need to be able to find those laws and regulations which apply to a specific matter, in order to provide the appropriate legal advice for their clients." Here's an example of how this skill is used from a resume that represents typical law clerk tasks: "assist in tort litigation preparation by drafting legal motions, conducting research, preparing legal memorandum and assisting in litigation discovery. "
  • Yet another important skill that a law clerk must demonstrate is "analytical skills." Lawyers help their clients resolve problems and issues This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a law clerk who stated: "researched and analyzed laws governing patent and trademark prosecution and litigation. "
  • Another skill commonly found on law clerk resumes is "problem-solving skills." This description of the skill was found on several law clerk resumes: "lawyers must separate their emotions and prejudice from their clients’ problems and objectively evaluate the relevant applicable information" Here's an example from a resume of how this skill could fit into the day-to-day law clerk responsibilities: "drafted initial and supplemental litigation plans assessing outstanding liability and damages issues and potential resolutions. "
  • See the full list of law clerk skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming a law clerk. We found that 63.0% of law clerks have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 5.5% 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. In fact, our research shows that one out of every ten law clerks were not college graduates.

    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.

    Once you're ready to become a law clerk, you should explore the companies that typically hire law clerks. According to law clerk resumes that we searched through, law clerks are hired the most by Pacific Architects and Engineers, United States Courts, and CACI International. Currently, Pacific Architects and Engineers has 25 law clerk job openings, while there are 18 at United States Courts and 15 at CACI International.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, law clerks tend to earn the biggest salaries at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Nixon Peabody, and O'Melveny. Take Hughes Hubbard & Reed for example. The median law clerk salary is $210,750. At Nixon Peabody, law clerks earn an average of $210,422, while the average at O'Melveny is $203,527. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies.

    View more details on law clerk salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire law clerks from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include U.S. District Court, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Courthouse, and Law Office.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious law clerks are:

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    What Attorneys Do

    Generally, an attorney's responsibility is to advise the client with an ongoing lawsuit on the legal procedures and provide strategies to resolve the case as early as possible. An attorney compiles necessary documents or any records for appeal and client's defense. Attorneys must acquire strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to mediate disputes and settle pending litigation for the client's best interest. In some cases, an attorney's procedure depends on any evidence and research presented during the trial period. An attorney is expected to present clients on legal proceedings, seeking justice and justifying the law.

    We looked at the average law clerk annual salary and compared it with the average of an attorney. Generally speaking, attorneys receive $53,560 higher pay than law clerks per year.

    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 litigation, legal issues, and interrogatories in the day-to-day roles.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a law clerk responsibilities require skills like "legal memos," "pre-trial motions," "family law," and "client intake." Meanwhile a typical attorney has skills in areas such as "legal advice," "legal services," "appeals," and "trial preparation." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Attorneys tend to reach similar levels of education than law clerks. In fact, attorneys are 0.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 19.4% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of an Executive Legal Assistant?

    An Executive Legal Assistant provides comprehensive support to lawyers and legal offices. They start as entry-level assistants before specializing in a field after a few years with experience; litigation, criminal law, family law, international law. Their duties include performing legal research by gathering case information for presentation, writing legal reports based on research and interviews, scheduling meetings, organizing travel arrangements, and organizing documentation for easy accessibility. An Executive Legal Assistant must be well organized, analytical research skills, and experience in case management. They typically spend long work hours spent in libraries and offices, requiring occasional travel.

    Now we're going to look at the executive legal assistant profession. On average, executive legal assistants earn a $2,474 lower salary than law clerks a year.

    While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both law clerks and executive legal assistants are known to have skills such as "litigation," "interrogatories," and "district court. "

    But both careers also use different skills, according to real law clerk resumes. While law clerk responsibilities can utilize skills like "legal issues," "legal memos," "pre-trial motions," and "summary judgment," some executive legal assistants use skills like "powerpoint," "expense reports," "real estate," and "calendar management."

    Executive legal assistants may earn a lower salary than law clerks, but executive legal assistants earn the most pay in the telecommunication industry with an average salary of $64,232. On the other side of things, law clerks receive higher paychecks in the professional industry where they earn an average of $98,674.

    On the topic of education, executive legal assistants earn similar levels of education than law clerks. In general, they're 0.5% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 19.4% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Senior Legal Assistant Compares

    Senior legal assistants are responsible for managing junior-level assistants. They also support lawyers with various legal tasks such as conducting legal research, drafting documents, and hearing trials. These assistants must work with attorneys and clients to review various legal documents to ensure their accuracy and completeness. They gather documents for attorneys and prepare witnesses scheduled for court hearings. Senior legal assistants must also arrange the delivery of subpoenas while preparing the required affidavit of service.

    Let's now take a look at the senior legal assistant profession. On average, these workers make lower salaries than law clerks with a $4,814 difference per year.

    While looking through the resumes of several law clerks and senior legal assistants we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "litigation," "legal issues," and "interrogatories," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

    There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a law clerk is likely to be skilled in "legal memos," "pre-trial motions," "summary judgment," and "settlement agreements," while a typical senior legal assistant is skilled in "legal correspondence," "legal support," "dictation," and "administrative tasks."

    Additionally, senior legal assistants earn a higher salary in the professional industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $58,939. Additionally, law clerks earn an average salary of $98,674 in the professional industry.

    When it comes to education, senior legal assistants tend to earn similar education levels than law clerks. In fact, they're 0.6% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 24.1% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Litigation Assistant

    Litigation assistants are professionals who provide administrative support as well as perform tasks such as filing legal documents, communicating with clients, and conducting legal research for law firms or legal departments. These assistants are required to draft and prepare a variety of court and legal documents that include expert witness designations, motions for preference, and complaints. They must receive many phone calls from clients they are handling as well as examining information about the cases they are working on. Litigation assistants must also work closely with bookkeepers to ensure that all invoices are paid.

    Litigation assistants tend to earn a lower pay than law clerks by about $2,033 per year.

    While both law clerks and litigation assistants complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like litigation, interrogatories, and district court, the two careers also vary in other skills.

    Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, a law clerk might have more use for skills like "legal issues," "legal memos," "pre-trial motions," and "summary judgment." Meanwhile, some litigation assistants might include skills like "phone calls," "attorney review," "trial preparation," and "proofreading" on their resume.

    Litigation assistants earn a higher salary in the construction industry with an average of $63,516. Whereas, law clerks earn the highest salary in the professional industry.

    In general, litigation assistants reach similar levels of education when compared to law clerks resumes. Litigation assistants are 0.6% less likely to earn their Master's Degree and 21.0% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What a Law Clerk Does FAQs

    Law Clerk Vs Associate

    A law clerk is an attorney that provides direct assistance and counsel to a judge, while an associate is a lawyer who works at a law firm under the firm's partners.

    A law clerk works with a judge by helping them make legal determinations and write opinions by researching issues before the court. They also draft trial briefs and other legal documents, review and verify briefs and legal authority, research and write bench memoranda, and orders.

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