Friday, August 6, 2010

Become a Toronto Law Clerk by Obtaining a Law Clerk Diploma

What is the job of a law clerk? It's a question to which many of us have a partial answer. But one thing is for sure, there is much more to this legal profession than clerical tasks. Skilled law clerks are actually imperative in collaborating with judges throughout the entire litigation process and assisting them in making informed decisions. The position is one of the most sought-after careers in the legal industry. However, before a job can be attained, a Law Clerk Diploma is essential. Upon graduation, most Canadian clerks begin their careers by applying for judicial clerkships. Provincial superior and appellate courts hire at least one clerk for each judge. The term typically lasts a year and is a great way to enter the field.

Centennial College offers an extraordinary opportunity for students to obtain a highly respected and sought-after Law Clerk Diploma. The wide range of law courses that emphasize career-oriented assignments, in conjunction with computer legal software courses, will give you the skills to make you employable in this legal profession. In addition, there is a four-day-a-week work placement in a law, corporate or government office during the final semester of Centennial’s Law Clerk diploma program. Lastly, faculty members are lawyers and other law office professionals who can share anecdotes and personal experiences.

Centennial College expects students applying for admission to this diploma program to present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Possession of minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission. Academic requirements include compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent and Math 11C, M or U, or 12C or U, or skills assessment, or equivalent. In order to graduate, law clerk students must achieve: an overall minimum GPA of 2.0, a minimum C grade average, a minimum C grade in COMM-170 and a minimum keyboarding speed of 40 words per minute.

But what specific skills must a Toronto Law Clerk possess and what tasks does he or she perform? In general, a solid understanding of diverse areas of the law, court procedures, jurisdictional rules and the court system is required. On a daily basis, law clerks research and analyze complicated issues in civil and criminal courts, assist judges in courtroom proceedings and manage exhibits submitted into evidence. They must also be strong communicators to interact with chambers staff, court personnel, litigants and the public.

There is, however, a difference between a trial and appellate law clerk. Trial law clerks help judges with settlement conferences and discovery disputes. They also review briefs submitted by the parties, perform legal research, verify cited legal authority and draft a variety of legal documents. Therefore, superior writing skills are required. On the other hand, appellate law clerks research and analyze complex legal issues in civil and criminal appeals. They also educate the judge and legal staff on the legal issues of a case prior to oral arguments. Law clerks, in general, have great power because they make recommendations regarding the disposition of appeals and may heavily influence a judge’s decision.

For more information visit Centennial College's, Toronto Law Clerk page

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