How to Become a Court Clerk

A court clerk is expected to file and maintain court records that may include copies of legal documents, court records, employee records, and financial files. Court clerks may be employed in smaller local courts or courts that serve larger geographic areas. The scope of responsibility that a court clerk has depends on the size of the jurisdiction the clerk is employed by.

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What Does a Court Clerk Do?

Most of the tasks that a court clerk engages in are related to legal practices and procedures. Primary responsibilities are normally related to the court the clerk is employed by and any proceedings involved with the court. A court clerk routinely schedules hearings and prepares the court docket. The clerk is responsible for administering oaths to jurors and witnesses during court proceedings, and if the court resides in a smaller district, may also be responsible for recording and transcribing minutes.

A court clerk in larger jurisdictions may have to review legal documents for accuracy and compliance. Conferring with judges and lawyers on recommended courses of action for various legal matters may also be part of a court clerk’s job description in a larger district. Additionally, a court clerk may be responsible for contacting witnesses, litigants, and attorneys for information gathering or to advise of changes in hearing dates or venues. A clerk is also required to prepare folders for judges in both smaller and larger districts.

Educational Requirements

A court clerk is not required to have a degree. Sometimes, smaller districts are willing to hire entry-level candidates with only a high school diploma. However, having more than a high school diploma can give you an edge when it comes to obtaining employment.

Having a diploma, associate’s degree or a certificate in administration or criminal justice can make getting hired as a court clerk much easier. There are dedicated programs available that feature a curriculum designed for individuals who have the goal of becoming a court clerk. While not every district requires recognized qualifications, most districts require candidates to be proficient in keyboarding, math, and written English.