Law clerks perform a variety of legal tasks to support solicitors, barristers or other legal or court professionals.
Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does a Law Clerk do?
Law clerks perform a variety of legal tasks to support solicitors, barristers or other legal or court professionals. Law clerks may also be known as paralegals or legal assistants.
As a law clerk, you would:
- take books, documents and robes to and from court
- undertake administrative duties such as dealing with letters, e-mails and phone calls
- liaise between solicitors, clients and their barristers
- assist clients with information about legal processes and statutory information
- undertake company, business name, bankruptcy and property title searche
- get affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence in court
- fill out and lodge government and legal forms
- maintain and organise legal files
- read and examine contracts to make sure they are ready for finalisation
- undertake research and help draft court documents or briefing papers.
Key skills and interests
To become a law clerk, you would need:
- an interest in the law
- good spoken and written English skills
- accuracy and attention to detail in your work
- tact and respect for confidential information
- logical and clear thinking
- research skills
- persistence and patience
- good team work skills.
Working hours and conditions
In a full-time role, you would normally work standard office hours, Monday to Friday. Law clerks and paralegals are often required to work long hours, including evenings and weekends, especially when they are assisting with complex cases.
You would be based in a government or corporate legal department, solicitor's office or barrister's chambers, but you would also spend some of your time visiting court, other solicitor's offices or chambers, and government places of business. You would be expected to dress smartly.
How to become an Law Clerk?
Entry Level Education
You can work as a law clerk without formal qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in legal services, legal practice paralegal studies. Many law clerks move into these roles from jobs as administrative assistants in law firms, as they continue to develop an interest in the law.
You can also become a law clerk by completing a degree in law, legal and justice studies, or arts, with a major in law. To get into these course you usually need to complete your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. You may be able to gain a position as a law clerk or paralegal and quickly move into a junior lawyer's role with these qualifications and some experience.
Employment of law clerks and paralegals and legal assistants is projected to remain stable.
As law firms try to increase the efficiency of legal services and reduce their costs, they are expected to hire paralegals and legal clerks to perform roles covering not only traditional paralegal duties but also some of the tasks previously assigned to legal secretaries or legal administrative assistants.
Due to their lower billing rates to clients, paralegals can be a less costly alternative to a wide variety of tasks once done by entry-level lawyers.
However, many of these tasks are now done online and can be completed overseas where wages are lower.