Careers in the Courtroom Without Being a Lawyer

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If you’re interested in a career in law, there are a number of employment opportunities in the courtroom that could be a good fit for you. In addition to lawyers, professionals in the courtroom include judges, law clerks, mediators and much more. Regardless of your duties, you’ll get a front row seat to observe our judicial system at work, with fascinating courtroom drama unfolding right before your eyes.

Here are some careers in the courtroom that don’t involve being a lawyer.

Court clerk

Court clerks are responsible for various clerical and administrative tasks, which can vary depending on the courts they serve. These duties can include preparing and processing legal documents, correspondence, motions and orders as well as interacting with judicial officers, attorneys and other law professionals. Court clerks usually start as deputy clerks, and can advance over time all the way up to chief court clerk. Being well-organized and thorough in this line of work is important. Having received training from paralegal courses can also be an asset.

Legal secretary

The legal secretary is responsible for typing various reports as well as completing documents that will be filed in court, such as tax forms or child custody papers. This position doesn’t necessarily require years and years of training, but does require being detail-oriented and having a good grasp of grammar and spelling. Basic accounting skills will also come in handy. Moreover, a legal secretary should be able to follow confidentiality rules, as he or she will be exposed to private information.

Law clerk

In the courtroom, the role of a law clerk is to assist a judge in making informed legal decisions. The position can involve research in areas like legal principles, past precedents, procedures and more, as well as reviewing legal documents submitted to the court. Despite the job title, law clerks perform very few clerical duties. Because of the importance of this position, law clerks in the courtroom need to be diligent, possess good training from law clerk colleges and demonstrate sound judgment. Superior writing skills are also an asset.

Mediator

More often than not, two parties facing one another in court will be interested in resolving the matter outside of the court system. A trial can be extremely costly, in legal costs as well as in terms of time, energy and personal investment. Trained by mediation – alternative dispute resolution schools, a mediator doesn’t have the legal authority that a judge has. Instead, he or she sits down with both parties in an attempt to resolve the issue outside of the court system through a process known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The role of the mediator is to remain neutral, hear both parties’ arguments and try to find common ground that all can agree on. Since the mediator can’t pass legal judgement, he or she must convince both parties to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.