Court Secretary: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 10, 2019

A court secretary is responsible for organizing, archiving, and maintaining legal documents for law professionals. Although some states require certification to work as a court secretary, a high school diploma or GED is generally sufficient for this position, although many employers prefer court secretaries to have completed at least some college.

Essential Information

Individuals with secretarial skills who are also interested in legal proceedings may want to check out a career as a court secretary. Court secretaries, often referred to as court clerks, archive and create a variety of legal documentation for court officials. Education above a high school diploma or GED may not be necessary to get a start in this career, but completing a few college courses is increasingly expected by employers. Moving up in this field usually requires a degree. For some jobs, certification is needed.

Required Education High school diploma or GED; at least some college preferred
Other Requirements Certification required in some states
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 4% for court, municipal and license clerks
Median Salary (2018)* $38,450 for court, municipal and license clerks

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Court Secretary Job Description

Judges, lawyers and other legal professionals rely on court secretaries to maintain and retrieve legal documents required for specific cases. This career requires strong organizational and communication skills in addition to an ability to withhold confidential information. Many secretaries use this job as a starting point for more advanced legal positions, such as court administrator.

Court Secretary Duties

Court secretaries manage the day-to-day inflow and outflow of legal files through the court system. Specific duties can include processing court orders, such as probation or sentencing orders. They might also record dispositions, answer questions from the public and explain court procedures to involved parties, as well as contacting witnesses and attorneys to collect information for court officials. Sometimes clerks assist paralegals and lawyers in database research. Additionally, court secretaries conduct a range of administrative duties, like answering phones and stocking office supplies.

Education and Training Requirements for Court Secretaries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, entering a career as a court secretary does not require formal training; however, employers may favor applicants who have at least some post-secondary education, and some may prefer an associate's degree. In fact, O*Net OnLine reveals that, as of 2015, approximately 20% of these workers had completed at least some college or held 2-year degrees. Due to the relatively low requirements, court secretaries usually undergo on-the-job training after obtaining employment. Some positions may require advanced education and certification. For example, secretaries employed by Texas courts need to complete a state-administered certification program. Additionally, upper-level positions in this field may require a bachelor's degree coupled with experience.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

In 2018, court, municipal and license clerks earned an annual median salary of $38,450, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment growth for these clerks during the 2018-2028 decade is expected to be 4%, a little below average, per the BLS.

In addition to the general administrative duties a court secretary performs, some of the responsibilities of this position include gathering witness information for court officials, processing court orders, and recording dispositions. It is very important that candidates possess strong organizational skills. A high school diploma or equivalent is all that is typically required, although many employers want to see some post-secondary schooling or an associate's degree.

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