What they do
A law clerk performs specialised clerical work associated with legal practice and law courts, with the exact nature of the work determined by the area of law their employer specialises in.
Tasks include assisting lawyers with clerical and administrative tasks, and basic legal duties. This work can also include drafting letters to clients, solicitors or other parties, assisting with telephone inquiries, and researching previous cases where final judgement of the court may be used as supporting evidence for a client's claim. A law clerk may also manage client cases, should a procedure be fairly routine.
A law clerk usually works from 9-5 in a normal office environment, however, overtime may be expected if a particular deadline has to be met. Law clerks are required in all courts, from large law courts in Perth or Bunbury to smaller regional courts in regional areas, such as Albany or Broome.
The duties of law clerks working in larger firms tend to be more specialised and can involve more detailed research, while those employed in smaller firms may be required to perform a wider range of duties, including receptionist tasks and work as an 'outside' clerk. The role of an 'outside' clerk includes visiting courts and government agencies to lodge legal documents, or attending settlements for clients.
Tools and technologies
Law clerks use word processing and basic computing skills to perform their work.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a law clerk without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in legal services or legal studies.
The Certificate IV in Legal Services and Diploma of Legal Services are offered at the North Metropolitan TAFE College in Perth. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.
You can also complete a Legal Assistant traineeship (level 4). This traineeship usually takes 12 to 24 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.