An Overview of a Law Clerk’s Duties

Court Gavel + Law Books

After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law with his juris doctor, Steven Guynn completed a clerkship in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. As Mr. Guynn explains, clerkships provide an excellent opportunity for graduates to obtain hands-on legal experience and develop expertise in certain areas of law before pursuing other career paths. A law clerk assists judges in performing research relating to the defense or prosecution of certain cases. In some cases, the law clerk may act as a court clerk during hearings or as bailiff. Often, clerks perform various administrative duties in support of the judge or other legal professionals.

On a daily basis, the clerk can expect to dedicate the majority of his or her time to research and analysis, whether to verify facts or prepare drafts of arguments and briefs. Clerks also prepare and file various legal documents, such as petitions, pleadings, and affidavits. For this reason, clerkships require excellent written communication skills and the ability to synthesize information quickly and succinctly. This skill set will make a candidate more desirable for positions at corporations or major law firms.

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