Career Development

What Does a Court Clerk Do?

Find out what a court clerk does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a court clerk.

Court clerks are responsible for a wide range of administrative tasks in the court system. They ensure that cases proceed through the courts smoothly and efficiently, from beginning to end. Court clerks commonly provide support to judges by preparing paperwork, taking notes during hearings, and maintaining records. They may also be responsible for managing other clerical staff who help with these tasks.

Court Clerk Job Duties

Court clerks have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Compiling and maintaining records of court proceedings
  • Administering oaths or affirmations to witnesses, jurors, or other parties to court proceedings
  • Tending to administrative tasks such as answering phones, managing calendars, and scheduling trials
  • Preparing legal documents such as summonses, subpoenas, motions, orders, and judgments
  • Scheduling appointments for attorneys to meet with clients in courtrooms or other facilities
  • Recording all proceedings of court cases, including trials, hearings, and motions
  • Maintaining records of all cases filed in the court, including case status and legal documents such as summonses, complaints, subpoenas, verdicts, etc.
  • Performing clerical duties such as filing documents with the court, taking notes during court proceedings, and greeting individuals who enter the courtroom
  • Answering phones, greeting people at the door, and answering questions about court procedures

Court Clerk Salary & Outlook

Court clerks’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the size of the court they work in, and the geographic location of their job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $38,000 ($18.27/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $70,500 ($33.89/hour)

The employment of court clerks is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

The need to reduce costs and increase efficiency in courts will likely result in more work for court clerks. As courts seek to become more efficient, they may hire more clerks to handle a larger workload with fewer resources.

Court Clerk Job Requirements

The following are some of the qualifications that are often required to become a court clerk:

Education: Court clerks need at least a high school diploma or GED certificate. Many employers prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in court reporting, legal administration or a related field. Courses in these programs include legal terminology, legal writing, legal ethics, business law, criminal law, civil law, constitutional law and court process.

Training & Experience: Court clerks typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or other experienced court clerks. This training may include learning how to use the court’s computer systems, how to file paperwork and how to perform other tasks.

Certifications & Licenses: Court clerks are not legally required to obtain any certifications to qualify for this position. However, court clerks may seek certifications to gain additional knowledge about the duties and responsibilities of this position, test their professional skills and potentially advance their career.

Court Clerk Skills

Court clerks need the following skills in order to be successful:

Attention to detail: Court clerks may need to review and process a large amount of information in a short period of time. Attention to detail can help court clerks ensure they complete all of their duties correctly. It can also help them ensure they enter the correct information into the court system.

Organization: Court clerks often have many tasks to complete in a short period of time. Having excellent organizational skills can help them prioritize their work and stay on top of deadlines. They may also need to keep track of large amounts of information, so having strong organizational skills can help them keep their records organized and easy to access.

Communication: Court clerks often communicate with a variety of people, including other court staff, lawyers, defendants and members of the public. They must be able to communicate clearly and concisely in order to relay information accurately. They also need to be able to communicate with people from a variety of backgrounds and education levels.

Computer skills: Court clerks may use computers to enter data, create court documents and manage case files. Having computer skills can help you perform your job duties efficiently and effectively.

Professionalism: Court clerks should be professional in their interactions with others. They should be able to maintain a positive attitude and treat everyone with respect. This includes those who work in the court and those who are involved in legal proceedings.

Court Clerk Work Environment

Court clerks work in a variety of settings, including courthouses, law libraries, and law firms. They typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may have to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. Court clerks often work under pressure to meet deadlines for filing documents and may be required to work overtime to complete their tasks. The work can be stressful, and court clerks must be able to handle a high volume of work with accuracy and attention to detail.

Court Clerk Trends

Here are three trends influencing how court clerks work. Court clerks will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Technology in the Courtroom

The use of technology in the courtroom is becoming increasingly common, as courts look for ways to make the process more efficient. This trend is having a significant impact on the role of the court clerk, who is now responsible for managing and maintaining the court’s electronic records.

Court clerks who are able to utilize technology will be in high demand, as they will be able to streamline the court process and make it easier for everyone involved. In addition, they will be able to provide better customer service by providing easy access to information and documents.

More Collaboration Between Legal Professionals

As legal professionals become more specialized, there is an increasing need for collaboration between them. This is because each specialty requires a different set of skills and knowledge that can only be acquired through experience.

Court clerks can take advantage of this trend by developing relationships with other professionals in their field. This will allow them to share ideas and learn from one another, which will help them to become more successful in their careers.

Greater Focus on Customer Service

Courts are placing a greater focus on customer service in order to improve the overall experience for those who come into contact with the system.

This trend is having a major impact on the role of the court clerk, who is often the first person that customers interact with when they come to the courthouse. As such, court clerks need to be prepared to provide excellent customer service and be able to handle difficult situations effectively.

How to Become a Court Clerk

A career as a court clerk is a great way to get started in the legal field. It’s a stable job with good pay and benefits, and it offers opportunities for growth. As a court clerk, you’ll be responsible for a variety of tasks, including answering phones, filing paperwork, and assisting lawyers and judges.

To become a court clerk, you’ll need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, and some experience working in an office environment. Most courts also require that you pass a certification exam.

Advancement Prospects

Court clerks typically start out in entry-level positions, such as file clerk or office assistant. With experience and on-the-job training, they may advance to positions such as senior clerk, lead clerk, or supervisor. Some court clerks may also move into related occupations, such as paralegal or legal assistant.

Court Clerk Job Description Example

The [CompanyX] Court Clerk is responsible for the daily operations of the court office, including but not limited to, answering phones, greeting the public, data entry, filing, and scheduling. The Court Clerk must be able to work independently and have excellent customer service skills. The ideal candidate will have experience working in a court setting and be familiar with court procedures. This position requires excellent organizational skills and the ability to multitask.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Answer phones, take messages, and respond to inquiries from the public, attorneys, and court staff in a professional manner
  • Operate office equipment such as photocopiers, scanners, and fax machines
  • Open and close cases, file documents, maintain records, and perform data entry into the court’s case management system
  • Prepare and process various legal documents including summonses, subpoenas, motions, and orders
  • Collect and distribute mail
  • Assist with jury selection by conducting background checks and maintaining confidentiality of personal information
  • Maintain dockets and calendars, scheduling hearings, conferences, and other events
  • Notarize documents as needed
  • Perform research using online resources and the court’s library
  • Provide support to judges and court personnel as needed
  • Adhere to all security procedures
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Associate’s degree in business administration, legal studies, or related field preferred
  • 1-3 years of experience working in a court or legal setting
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office, with aptitude to learn new software and systems

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, legal studies, or related field
  • 2-5 years of experience working in a court or legal setting
  • Working knowledge of court rules and procedures
  • Experience managing projects and deadlines
  • Ability to work well under pressure and maintain a high level of accuracy

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