What is a Court Clerk?

Court clerks provide case information and service resolution for citizens in efficient, effective and professional manners, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They process and handle proofs of compliance, multiple forms of payments, requests for records and information at public lobby windows. They must provide efficient and courteous customer service to citizens who may be rude, irritated and hostile.

Entry-Level General Duties

Clerical work involves case processing information systems, electronic filing systems, law enforcement databases and Microsoft Office. Court clerks review legal documents for adequacy, accuracy, compliance and completeness. They determine what processing is required, then take necessary action in accordance with court rules and state statutes. Court clerks initiate petitions, schedule notices, file citations and scan documents. They use computer software to generate court notices, petitions, affidavits, subpoenas, summons, commitments, executions, correspondence and expungements. They notify parties, secure required signatures, compute applicable dates, affix court seals, authenticate documents and determine record routing. Court clerks perform calendar, interpreter and transportation courtroom duties. They check people in, reschedule calendars, take court minutes, set court dates, organize dockets, coordinate with justice partners and administer oaths to witnesses.

Senior-Level General Duties

Experienced court clerks may perform financial activities such as calculating costs, fines and amounts due. They prepare and reconcile required statements and monthly reports. They may handle financial payments for case events, bail information, case dispositions and jail sentencing. Experienced court clerks may suspend and reinstate driver’s licenses and other legal permits by following established procedures. They assure form completeness and record accuracy to meet court jurisdiction, change of venue, petition appeal and certification requirements. Senior court clerks review data quality reports, implement corrective actions and assure confidentiality in compliance. They create and handle case intake, court order, bond preparation, warrant issuing and route paperwork to judicial officers for reviews. Every day, they interact with judges, attorneys, judicial staff, law enforcement and government officials.

Expected Skills, Abilities and Knowledge

Court clerks must have knowledge of legal terminology, court procedures and general office practices. They must have the ability to read and interpret legal documents of varying complexity, follow departmental policies, make decisions in accordance with regulations and work in high-volume and fast-paced work environments. Court clerks must be able to clearly give directions, maintain a professional demeanor and exhibit positive attitudes. Their thorough knowledge of court procedures, state policies, legal documents and federal statues helps them to respond to requests for documents. Court clerks must be able to sensitively deal with people involved in crises, people from diverse populations and people who are unable to concisely and clearly communicate. They will establish and maintain effective working relationships with co-workers, justice partners, citizen customers, judicial officers and government representatives. They need to have ten-key, data entry, keyboarding, word processing, document management and new technology skills.

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Some court clerks earn a two-year degree in criminal justice, paralegal studies or business administration. Other court clerks opt to earn a full four-year degree in law or legal studies. These degree programs teach students about court statuses, records, proceedings, applications and documents. Students learn how to respond to inquiries, make appropriate record entries and provide referrals for further assistance.