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What Does A Law Clerk Do?

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.

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

  • Conduct legal research, draft various legal documents, including complaints, social security/disability appeals, settlement demand letters and subpoenas.
  • Initiate and maintain ongoing communication with insurance companies, medical records department and opposing counsel.
  • Interview clients and handle inquiries regarding discovery and trial preparation; also communicate with opposing counsel and co-counsel; issue subpoenas.
  • Defend agency from complaints under EEOC and MSPB from initiation through administrative judge decision.
  • Negotiate, draft and review a large spectrum of commercial and corporate governance relate agreements.
  • Counsele clients regarding various employment issues including EEOC compliance, wage and hour laws and contract negotiations.
  • Develop digital marketing campaign plans for mobile and internet social networks.
  • 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.
Law Clerk Traits
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Computer skills involves understanding how to operate a computer, as well as computer programs and applications.
Interpersonal skills involves being able to communicate efficiently with multiple people regarding your thoughts, ideas and feedback.

Law Clerk Overview

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.

On average, the law clerk annual salary is $53,594 per year, which translates to $25.77 an hour. Generally speaking, law clerks earn anywhere from $27,000 to $106,000 a year, which means that the top-earning law clerks make $93,000 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. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include an attorney, executive legal assistant, senior legal assistant, and litigation assistant.

Law Clerk Jobs You Might Like

Law Clerk Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 11% of Law Clerks are proficient in Discovery Responses, Legal Advice, and Legal Documents. 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:

  • Discovery Responses, 11%

    Researched and drafted affirmations in support, arbitration contentions, discovery responses, and attorney correspondence for insurance fraud litigation firm.

  • Legal Advice, 10%

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

  • Legal Documents, 8%

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

  • Legal Memos, 6%

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

  • Pre-Trial Motions, 5%

    File motions and documents in various departments at Daley Center, including spindle motions in both Civil and Law Divisions.

  • Law Firm, 3%

    Clerked for law firm that focused on international business transactions and intellectual property licensing matters while living in and experiencing Peru.

Some of the skills we found on law clerk resumes included "discovery responses," "legal advice," and "legal documents." We have detailed the most important law clerk responsibilities below.

  • 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 law clerk responsibilities sometimes require "research skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "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." This resume example shows how this skill is used by law clerks: "researched and responded to motions for summary judgment involving misrepresentation and breach of contract. "
  • Another common skill for a law clerk to be able to utilize is "analytical skills." Lawyers help their clients resolve problems and issues a law clerk demonstrated the need for this skill by putting this on their resume: "reviewed and analyzed motions for summary judgment for clarity and continuity. "
  • 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: "observed legal proceedings such as; motions for summary judgment, dissolution of marriage and contract disputes. "
  • 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 15.9% 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 legal research and advanced professional studies degree. Less commonly earned degrees for law clerks include a political science degree or a business 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 CACI International, Robert Half International, and Cincinnati Financial. Currently, CACI International has 17 law clerk job openings, while there are 4 at Robert Half International and 3 at Cincinnati Financial.

    If you're interested in companies where law clerks make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at The Dewey, Carey International, and Goodwin Procter. We found that at The Dewey, the average law clerk salary is $331,340. Whereas at Carey International, law clerks earn roughly $328,759. And at Goodwin Procter, they make an average salary of $222,722.

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

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

      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 $46,356 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 legal advice, legal documents, and pre-trial motions in the day-to-day roles.

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a law clerk responsibilities require skills like "discovery responses," "legal memos," "counsel," and "client intake." Meanwhile a typical attorney has skills in areas such as "trial preparation," "family law matters," "due diligence," and "practice areas." 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 4.5% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 6.6% less 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 $6,473 higher 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 "legal advice," "legal documents," and "law firm. "

      But both careers also use different skills, according to real law clerk resumes. While law clerk responsibilities can utilize skills like "discovery responses," "legal memos," "pre-trial motions," and "criminal cases," some executive legal assistants use skills like "powerpoint," "expense reports," "confidential information," and "legal department."

      On the topic of education, executive legal assistants earn higher levels of education than law clerks. In general, they're 6.2% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 6.6% 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 higher salaries than law clerks with a $772 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 "discovery responses," "legal advice," and "legal documents," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

      As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from law clerks resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "legal memos," "pre-trial motions," "criminal cases," and "summary judgment." But a senior legal assistant might have skills like "administrative tasks," "trial preparation," "travel arrangements," and "legal department."

      When it comes to education, senior legal assistants tend to earn similar education levels than law clerks. In fact, they're 4.5% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 64.5% 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 $6,570 per year.

      According to resumes from both law clerks and litigation assistants, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "discovery responses," "legal advice," and "legal documents. "

      Each job requires different skills like "legal memos," "pre-trial motions," "counsel," and "criminal cases," which might show up on a law clerk resume. Whereas litigation assistant might include skills like "phone calls," "trial preparation," "office procedures," and "litigation support."

      The average resume of litigation assistants showed that they earn similar levels of education to law clerks. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 3.2% more. Additionally, they're less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 60.1%.