In the Task belonging to the Criminal Law Clerk.

In every industry, you can find those that work behind the scenes to ensure the activities of each organization are carried out accurately and efficiently. The hallmark sound of the Prussian stamp thudding against a sheet paper has for centuries announced the current presence of such individuals, and as the methodology of clerical work has largely changed with the advent of the computer age, that same sound still resounds in the offices of criminal law, where the might of traditional and ceremonial custom is brought face-to-face with the fast-paced, high-tech processes of the modern age. This clash between the past and the present requires a unique skill-set to understand, paramount which are the abilities to understand archaic terminology, modern mediums of communication, and especially, to develop an adaptive frame of mind.

There are several words and phrases which, when used properly, serve to make criminal procedures all but incomprehensible to the layman. Phrases such as “Comes Now,” and “Counsel of Record,” may cause the common reader to pause, while phrases like “In Pari Delicto,” or “Sua Sponte,” are confounding in the extreme – not the least as they are words extracted from a dead language. Strafrecht For a powerful criminal law clerk, however, such phrases and words must at the very least be familiar, as courts often demand their usage in official documents for the sake of tradition and professionalism. Even lacking any adept’s comprehension of Latin, a criminal law clerk must be prepared to place these terms throughout legal documents appropriately and, perhaps more to the point, know when to omit these terms. Whereas the lack of these traditional terms might be tolerated with a judge, the wrong placement of these terms might change this is of a complete document, and ensure it is inadmissible to court records. In terms of efficiency is concerned, there is nothing worse than being forced to do the exact same work twice.

While archaic terminology is a basic requirement essential for all effective law clerks to understand, one surprisingly overlooked qualification is a mastery of the modern modes of communication. This includes methods such as email, faxing and even properly formatted postal envelopes. Of those three, properly formatted and professionally appearing envelopes are perhaps the most crucial, as much courts require original documents and do not accept facsimile or electronic copies. To be knowledgeable about proper mail-address formatting may appear certain – yet, this kind of familiarity implies intimate knowledge of word-processing programs and printer capabilities, as handwritten envelopes are, to say the least, unprofessional. Having said that, knowledge of fax systems and the process of emailing is also critical; as more and more courts begin to simply accept digital copies of documents, law clerks are expected to be knowledgeable about professionally structured and properly formatted e-docs.

Given the variation between what types of documents courts will and won’t accept, the most important qualification of a criminal law clerk is that of adaptability. Understanding that all court and each judge has their own demands – and to be able to meet those demands – is paramount to being a powerful legal clerk. Being ready to utilize archaic terminology or modern terminology; being effective at filing documents early enough to meet the demands of courts who require original, physical copies, vs. people who only demand electronic, digital copies; understanding how every person court schedules hearings; even being effective at meeting the demands of other criminal law clerks – all these and more require an capability to conform to each unique case and each unique situation. Without this adaptability, not only will the job of resolving criminal cases be compounded exponentially, however the appeal of a law clerk as a member of staff is inherently reduced.

Read More