What Does a Legal Clerk Do?

photograph of a legal clerk checking documents on a desk in front of an open laptop
What can a legal clerk do for your business? Truth is, every business will need the services of a legal professional sooner or later. Here's why:

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At present, there are over 189,037 employed legal clerks in the United States. Moreover, these professionals, also known as law clerks or paralegals, are highly in demand, with some earning close to six digits a year. 

So what exactly do legal clerks do and why does your business need them?

A legal clerk or paralegal is a position reserved for junior apprentice attorneys or judges. He or she must be knowledgeable in analyzing how and why legal cases were decided the way they were. Furthermore, a legal clerk must also be qualified to conduct comprehensive legal research. 

In simpler terms, they are legal studies graduates or professionals that assist lawyers and judges. Their primary duties are to conduct research, prepare legal documents, write reports, and maintain legal records. The people best fitted for this job are law school graduates. 

For startup and established companies, legal clerks assist in the company’s legal framework and more.

Why every business needs a legal clerk

Keeps your business compliant

It can be difficult for startup entrepreneurs to comprehend the different company laws and regulations to ensure their business stays compliant. The last thing you’d want as a business is to violate corporate laws and pay fines from the get-go. In fact, approximately 30,000 small businesses in the US (around 53%) are involved in litigation each year. Having legal representation will ensure you avoid lawsuits and work within the confines of the law. 

Craft and check business contracts

Writing legal documents such as contracts should be done by legal professionals, whether it’s employment contracts or other business transactions. This ensures that both parties have a clear understanding of the terms of the contract. What’s more, having a legal professional draft your contracts will protect your interests and minimize the risk of legal troubles. 

As an entrepreneur, you’ll be going over different contracts from lease agreements to your business insurance. You’ll need a professional set of eyes to look over contracts to ensure there aren’t any loopholes. This is where a legal clerk comes in.

“Legal work has a lot of technicalities and there are so many ways it could go wrong. Even the smallest discrepancies in your business documents can result in dire circumstances in the future.” Lewis Banks, senior manager at LegalDrop told Market Business News

He adds that:

“It’s best to let a competent legal authority go over your corporate documents and offer you the right legal advice.”

Assist lawyers in protecting your business against lawsuits

Some business owners make the mistake of hiring legal officers only when it’s too late. As a business owner, you need to be ready for anything. One example is when competitors try to copy your brand. Legal clerks and lawyers will then work together to file for trademarks, patents, and copyrights.

Hiring legal professionals will prevent your business from getting into any legal troubles. And if they do happen, you can put your mind at ease knowing someone with experience will work on it. 

Important aspects to look for in a legal clerk

Aside from having a law background, every law clerk should have the following requirements: 

Experience 

Experience is a must for every legal clerk. After all, it takes years to be knowledgeable about corporate laws and contracts, especially when one mistake can cause irreversible damage. Hiring someone with little experience can be a huge risk for any business, potentially leading to financial pitfalls

Education

The basic requirement for every law professional is a bachelor’s degree in law. But that doesn’t mean that those are the only people eligible to work as your legal clerk. You can also hire individuals who completed a Juris Doctor course.

Skills

Legal clerks have become a dime a dozen these days. If you want to find the best legal clerk services, you should require more than a law degree. Be sure to look out for the following skills as well:

  • Strong attention to detail
  • Document-managing skills
  • Excellent research skills
  • Ability to write memos and documents
  • Proficiency in interpersonal skills
  • Excellent comprehension of the law

What to expect from your legal clerk

 photograph of an empty courtroom
Image source: Pixabay

Legal experts do more than ensure your business steers clear of lawsuits and fines. Once you’ve hired a legal clerk, here’s what you can expect from them on a routine basis:

Conduct legal research

Legal assistants conduct extensive research and offer analysis and interpretation. Having the facts of a case before a hearing can put your business in an advantageous position.

Prepare legal documents

A legal clerk is responsible for the preparation of legal documents, such as contracts, certifications, trial briefs, and evidence. Furthermore, they ensure that all documents related to a lawsuit are arranged properly and are readily available for the attorneys. 

Record proceedings

Legal clerks are present during court sessions and hearings to take notes of any critical information. They are to record the proceedings in the courtroom, the decisions made by the court, and the actions taken. 

But the work doesn’t end there. Once the court session is finished, legal clerks also write court reports.

Administrative work

A legal clerk is also no stranger to administrative work. This includes scheduling appointments, coordinating meetings, and managing legal teams.

Legal clerks are also in charge of processing and serving court action documents – subpoenas, eviction notices, and summonses. When in court during a proceeding, legal clerks are also the ones to take sworn statements from witnesses.

Final thoughts

Obtaining the services of a legal clerk is a must for your business to be successful. They can assist in a variety of ways to help your business stay legally compliant and save on overall costs. But be sure you’re hiring the most qualified individuals. After all, you do have more than 180,000 options to choose from. Make sure they possess the following skills:

  • Strong attention to detail
  • Document-managing skills
  • Excellent research skills
  • Ability to write memos and documents
  • Proficiency in interpersonal skills
  • Excellent comprehension of the law

“No man is above the law, and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man’s permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right, not asked as a favor.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Featured Image: Canva

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