Articled clerk – legal assistant and How to succeed in this field
Who is an articled clerk and what do they do? The task is to assist lawyers and to carry out administrative and simpler legal tasks for the law firm. An articled clerk/legal assistant is very often a lawyer beginning his/her career, gaining experience for his/her future legal practice.
What are the activities of an articled clerk? These include – attending to phone calls coming into the law firm, accepting and dispatching mail or performing other administrative tasks – setting up dates for court hearings, other meetings of lawyers, and visits of clients – receiving clients – taking minutes of court hearings and other meetings, checking records and protocols – drafting ordinary legal documents (for example ordinary contracts, applications, etc.,) – preparing documentation necessary for specific court hearings – researching the circumstances of various cases, sorting and analysing the information acquired, and giving reports to those lawyers who work on the particular cases – representing lawyers in certain ordinary meetings and hearings, including representing clients in front of courts and other authorities during certain ordinary hearings – ordinary legal consulting – assisting lawyers in planning the budget and other financial matters of the law firm, calculation and settling fees with clients.
Where is it done and under what conditions? The job is done in offices or similar work spaces and in courtrooms, where the work environment is fairly comfortable.
What tools/equipment do an articled clerk use? These are primarily the spoken word, computer technology, telephone, fax machine.
What do you need to succeed? You need a law degree, ability to concentrate and to make fast judgements, ability to improvise, a feeling for the situation at hand, ability to deal with people, ability to use words correctly and precisely, a generally cultivated appearance and conduct, and, naturally, knowledge of the applicable laws and other legal norms.