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Law clerk

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Summary of occupation

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.

ANZSCO description: Performs specialised clerical work associated with legal practice and law courts.
Alternative names: Legal Clerk
Specialisations:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A law clerk needs:

  • an eye for detail
  • an interest in the law and legal processes
  • good organisational skills
  • good typing and computing skills
  • the ability to think logically and clearly
  • good oral and written communication skills, and
  • a sound knowledge of the English language.
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Working conditions

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.

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Salary details

On average, law clerks, classified under court and legal clerks, can expect to earn between $1 000 and $ 1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a law clerk develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Law clerks use word processing and basic computing skills to perform their work.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can 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 Business (Legal Studies) are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a Legal Assistant or Assistant Paralegal traineeship. These traineeships usually take 24 months to complete.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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