How do I Become a Legal Clerk?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2018
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The requirements for becoming a legal clerk depend on the type of clerk position an individual hopes to fill. For example, one type involves providing general office assistance, filing legal documents, and answering phones in a law office. A person often may secure this position after earning a high school or general educational development (GED) diploma. The other type of legal clerk assists a judge in deciding cases, provides assistance to lawyers, reviews legal documents, and drafts legal arguments. This type of position typically requires a person to earn a college degree and attend law school.

An individual may not need a degree to become a legal clerk who provides law office administrative support. He may have a better chance of securing a job, however, if he takes some college courses in the field of law or even earns a law-related bachelor’s degree. There are also some non-degree programs designed to prepare a person for working in a law office.

The specific level of education a person needs to become a legal clerk often depends on the tasks to which he is assigned. If the majority of his job will be general office duties, he may not need much training or a college degree. If he will need to understand legal terminology or review legal documents, he may need a degree or at least a certificate from a legal training program.


To provide support in a legal office, an individual typically needs typing, filing, and organizational skills. He also needs good communication skills in order to talk with the lawyer or lawyers who employ him. He may also answer the legal office’s phones, which also requires well-developed communication and customer service skills.

Another type of legal clerk, more commonly called a law clerk, is a lawyer or individual in training to become a lawyer. This individual often assists judges or other lawyers, writing legal documents, reviewing case information, taking witness statements, and helping judges to decide cases. A person in this position may also deliver subpoenas.

Preparation to become a legal clerk for a judge or law firm typically starts with a college education. Prospective law clerks usually earn four-year degrees before going on to enter law school. Some judges and law firms hire law clerks who have completed law school, while others hire clerks while they are completing their last couple of years of schooling.

A person may become a legal clerk soon after graduating from law school and hold the position temporarily, such as while waiting to take required law exams. Others may hold these positions as internships while they are still studying law. Some people decide to make a career of law clerking, however.



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