Preparing for trial can be a long and arduous task for attorneys. To lesson the burden, law offices hire litigation file intake clerks to coordinate the numerous documents and exhibits necessary for trial. Working at the direction of attorneys and paralegals, file clerks provide law firm clients with a valuable service.
Organization is Key
Litigation file intake clerks are responsible for the maintenance and coordination of numerous records, files and litigation exhibits. The file clerk must be able to organize these items into a comprehensive filing system and retrieve them as directed. As a file clerk in a legal environment, you should have a basic understanding of court rules and procedures. When the supervising attorney provides you with instruction, you must follow the directions and implement them in an efficient manner. The litigation file clerk frequently engages with attorneys, paralegals and clients. You need good communication skills and professionalism.
A Usual Day
On a daily basis, the litigation file clerk works in a file room, organizing and cataloging documents for pending legal matters. This task may include a combination of written and electronic files. The firm attorneys provide the clerks with tasks to complete and supervise their progress. They may ask the clerks to assist in gathering documents from clients and outside sources. They may also be tasked with scanning paper documents to create electronic discovery files. In performing this duty, they must be accurate, ensuring that all documents are maintained and organized. The clerk retrieves records from the filing system as directed and may label them for use as exhibits during trial. They may also be directed to deliver items to the courthouse.
The Extra Tasks
Litigation file clerks sometimes work directly with the public. In smaller law firms, they may act as a receptionist, answering telephone calls and directing callers to the appropriate party. They may also greet office guests and notify attorneys about visitors. The litigation file clerk may also contact the courthouse to schedule cases or obtain updates on particular matters.
Litigation file clerks generally have to earn a high school diploma. Some clerks have also earned an associate degree in paralegal studies or a bachelor degree in legal studies. Litigation clerk positions are often entry-level positions. However, some law firms prefer that the file intake clerks have work experience in a law firm. According to the job information website O-Net Online, the average pay for legal assistants is $22.59 per hour. The future outlook for the position is average compared to the growth of other careers.
Erika Winston is a Washington, D.C.-based writer, with more than 15 years of writing experience. Her articles have appeared in such magazines as Imara, Corporate Colors E-zine and Enterprise Virginia. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from Regent University and a Masters in public policy from New England College.