Court clerks require skills in research, accounting, and file management, but qualifications and training courses in this field can vary greatly depending upon the type of court within which one plans to work. At minimum, a high school diploma is required for work as a court clerk, and many municipal courts offer short-term professional development programs for those seeking entry into this field.
Common concepts explored in court clerk training programs include:
- Legal records management
- Juvenile justice
- Criminal evidence
- Court operations
- Human resource management
Court clerks may gain education and training from a 2- or 4-year criminal justice degree program, a court clerk certificate program, or professional development courses. Several colleges and universities offer court clerk courses as part of their criminal justice or law degree and certificate programs.
List of Courses
Case Management Course
Court clerks receive and document case filings, and maintain an official log of all civil and criminal cases heard before the court. In this course, prospective court clerks learn to use electronic systems for maintaining and providing public access to the court docket (court case schedule). They also learn court clerk responsibilities for docket management, including notifying judges and other officials when cases have been placed on the docket. This course is directed at superior court clerks and is required for certification in some states.
Accounting and Finance for Court Clerks Course
Court clerks collect fees, such as filing fees, bonds, legal document copy fees and other court-related fines. In this course, students learn to account for fee revenue and prepare budgets which include estimated revenue and office expenditures. Proper documentation of cash inflow and office expenses is emphasized. Course content is dependent upon the budget and finance laws of the court jurisdiction in which the class is held.
Legal Research Course
Documenting court case filings, deeds and other legal instruments is one of the primary jobs of the court clerk. In this course, students learn how to interpret legal citations and references used in the documentation process. They also learn to navigate electronic legal databases to research court filings, court decisions and statutes. This is a required course for justice and law degree programs and is also offered through court clerk professional development programs.
Jury Management Course
In some jurisdictions, the clerk of a court is charged with sending jury questionnaires, notifying jurors of service requirements, swearing in jurors and assigning jurors to cases. This court clerk class covers the use of electronic jury management systems for juror selection and notification. Issues of juror excusal and jury service postponement are reviewed. This course is among the continuing education and professional development courses offered to court clerks.