A court clerk provides administrative and clerical support to a local, state, or federal court system, and is responsible for ensuring that all logistical details of a trial run smoothly. The job description of a court clerk requires strong organizational abilities, detailed knowledge of court proceedings, and strong communication skills.
A court clerk creates and processes court orders and other paperwork, maintains records of court proceedings, takes notes during trials, and provides details and instructions to jury members.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Court Clerk
- Draws up warrants, jury summons, and other court-related documents.
- Processes paperwork related to court trials.
- Notifies individuals of court dates and required appearances.
- Provides information to selected jurors with regard to trial procedures.
- Maintains organized records of all trials and court proceedings.
- Prepares all documents and materials needed during a trial.
- Takes minutes at trials.
- Manages courtroom schedule.
- Answers questions about trials or court documents.
- Retrieves old court documents from storage or database as necessary.
- Places requests for documents required by judges or lawyers during trials.
- Swears in jurors and witnesses during trials.
- Schedules hearings and court appointments.
- Transcribes documents for judges and lawyers as needed.
- Types up and edits confidential documents and correspondence on behalf of judges and/or lawyers.
- Enters necessary information into court database.
- Answers phones, sends faxes, responds to emails, and performs other clerical duties as needed.
- Orders supplies for court office.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Possesses detailed knowledge of logistics of court proceedings.
- Is able to read and interpret legal documents.
- Demonstrates strong organizational skills.
- Pays close attention to detail.
- Is proficient in use of Microsoft Office Suite, particularly Word and Outlook.
- Demonstrates strong interpersonal skills.
- Communicates clearly and effectively.
- Is capable of translating legal terminology into layman’s terms for explanatory purposes.
- Exhibits excellent typing and shorthand skills.
- Demonstrates ability to responsibly and discretely handle sensitive documents and confidential information.
- Manages time efficiently.
- Demonstrates ability to multi-task effectively.
- Works well with a variety of individuals.
- Exhibits familiarity with the use and function of basic office equipment.
- Is capable of remaining alert and attentive during long trials or hearings.
Education and Experience
A court clerk holds a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice or Legal Studies. Court clerks who work for federal courts must also hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice or a related field. Most court clerks have previous experience as administrative assistants or paralegals.
A significant portion of a court clerk’s workweek is spent in an office setting, processing paperwork and handling administrative details. A clerk also spends time in the courtroom, providing support to the judges, lawyers, and members of the jury. A court clerk typically works 40 hours per week, though may work some overtime depending on the length and nature of certain trials. During serious, grotesque, or high-profile court cases, the work environment can be stressful.
The average salary for a court clerk is $35,000 per year. Salaries range from $25,000 to $60,000 depending on years of experience and location.