What Does a Court Assistant Do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A court assistant offers administrative support to personnel at a courthouse, both in and outside of court proceedings. This may be a full or part time job, depending on the number of cases heard at the court and the kind of assistance needed. Court assistants may work under supervision from clerks and other more qualified personnel and interact both with court employees and members of the public. The job includes a mixture of customer service skills, legal knowledge, and administrative capabilities.

Court assistants need to know where to find important documents that other court personnel need.
Court assistants need to know where to find important documents that other court personnel need.

Some of the tasks allocated to a court assistant can include scheduling and making sure people are prepared for court. Events to be scheduled need to be entered by someone experienced with how long the proceedings should take. The court assistant may provide information on court rules and procedures to attorneys, witnesses, and other parties and can also answer specific procedural or etiquette questions. As the court date approaches, assistants can also answer questions from the media and other concerned parties about the case.

Court assistants are sometimes responsible for making sure that people are prepared for court.
Court assistants are sometimes responsible for making sure that people are prepared for court.

Administrative responsibilities may involve data entry, filing, and document generation. Court assistants can prepare court orders and other documents for signature in addition to following the direction of clerks and other personnel who need letters prepared. This requires a knowledge of legal terminology as well as familiarity with formal correspondence. Finished documents may be duplicated and distributed by the court assistant.

Court assistants are tasked with ensuring things go smoothly in the courtroom.
Court assistants are tasked with ensuring things go smoothly in the courtroom.

Mail and supply handling can also be part of the job, especially in a small courthouse. When incoming mail arrives, the court assistant distributes it to the right people, and also collects outgoing correspondence. In some cases, assistants may handle office supplies, distributing them to employees and ordering them as new ones are needed. This can be more common in areas where the court has a limited caseload and a small amount of funding, so personnel need to be able to multitask.

Pay grades typically depend on qualifications and experience; those with degrees may make more, and as they work in the court system, they can be eligible for pay increases. Civil service compensation is typically standardized to avoid accusations of bias, and court assistants who believe they are not being fairly compensated can ask for clarification and review of their pay and benefits. Sometimes a mistake leads to being improperly classified. The court also provides time off and may offer pensions, health care, and additional benefits to its personnel, particularly if they are full time employees.

Court assistants may work directly with judges.
Court assistants may work directly with judges.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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