In our legal system, judges are responsible for setting precedents, sentences, and rulings. However, no one person can wade through the volumes of material necessary to reach sound decisions. In America's brief history, it has managed to amass a tremendous amount of legal material; it is overwhelming for most. That's why many judges hire law clerks to help them sift through the mountains of information, data, cases, evidence, and precedents.
What is a law clerk?
A law clerk is essentially an assistant to a judge. In this capacity, you would be responsible for conducting research, helping write decisions, and typing out various documents and essays. You would work closely with your judge and provide administrative and legal support.
In most cases, a law degree is necessary. Not only that, but you must also perform extremely well during your law school days since judges tend to select only the top candidates from a very competitive group. Thus, if you want to pursue a career as a law clerk, you'll need to attend a law school first, and while you are there, you must excel.
A career as a law clerk
Although the road to becoming a law clerk is sometimes difficult, the advantages can be enormous. There is a certain amount of prestige and honor that comes through clerking. And not surprisingly, many law clerks go on to become judges themselves. Thus, if you have a desire to become a judge, just be aware that becoming a law clerk is the most direct path. Think of this profession as both a career and a steppingstone.
Publish date: February 10, 2011