What Does a Court Judicial Assistant Do?

Explore the career outlook and requirements for court judicial assistants. Get current information regarding this job, including working tasks, educational background, and expected salary. Schools offering Criminal Justice degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Court Judicial Assistant?

Also known as judicial clerks, court judicial assistants provide a helping hand to judges by conducting factual research and providing written court documentation for upcoming and present cases. For law school graduates, this job is a great opportunity to experience judicial decision making, gain confidence with writing on a legal level, and become comfortable with procedures that take place before and during a trial. Check out the table below for an overview of this career.

Education Juris Doctorate (J.D.)
Job Duties Conduct research, draft legal documents, review dockets and briefs from the court
Median Salary (2017)$51,330 per year or $24.68 per hour (judicial law clerks)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026)6% increase (judicial law clerks)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Duties of a Court Judicial Assistant?

According to Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, judicial clerkships are considered some of the most competitive yet highly regarded employment opportunities for individuals who have recently graduated from law school. As a full-time court judicial assistant, you will be working for a judge and will perform tasks that include proofreading and drafting court documents, conducting legal research, and checking citations.

There are two different types of court judicial assistants. Trial court clerks work directly with discovery disputes, trial briefs, settlement conferences, and other components associated with the litigation process. Appellate court clerks have less physical contact with the trial itself. They focus on the important background research and writing that are provided to the judge and the court.

Becoming a court judicial assistant is a great way to get involved in the legal field. Not only will you be conducting general tasks like research, you will also be providing advice to a judge about the evidence provided and its significance in the court's decision.

What Should I Study?

Prior to attending law school to get your J.D., you will have to complete a bachelor's degree program. Having your J.D. and being a U.S. Citizen are the most important elements to becoming a court judicial assistant. While there are no additional academic guidelines, the application process is very competitive and applicants who are interested in this opportunity should focus on doing well in college and law school and gaining professional experience outside of the classroom.

What Is the Job Outlook?

A 6% job increase was expected for court judicial assistants between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This projection means that around 800 positions are estimated to open within this 10-year period. As a court judicial assistant, you would be employed by the federal, state, or local government, which is where laws are continually being enforced and developed.

How Much Could I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that the median salary in May 2017 for judicial law clerks was $51,330 per year or $24.68 per hour. Individuals who work for state governments tend to make more and have more job availability than clerks working in local governments. The average salary of state government clerks was $65,660, while the average for judicial law clerks in local government was $49,210.

What Are Some Alternative Careers?

If you decide that you want similar job duties but also want a shorter path to enter the job market than law school, becoming a paralegal or a legal assistant may be a great option for you. Paralegal and legal assistants only need an associate's degree and have a similar median salary of $50,410, according to BLS stats for 2017. Instead of working on the side of the judge, you would be assisting the lawyers who present the judges with their clients' cases. Paralegals and legal assistants research current and potential cases, organize and maintain important documentation, and assist lawyers with exhibits, transcripts, and notes during a trial.

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