Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Law Clerk Diploma Offers Many Opportunities

In order to become a Law Clerk, you must have: knowledge of rules and procedures of law and government, proficiency in speaking and writing English language, knowledge of clerical procedures, effective personal and customer service, and quickly grasp things. All of these skills can be developed in a law clerk diploma program such as the one offered at Centennial College.

This two-year, four-semester program offers a theory of law combined with hands-on application of the theories taught. Those who wish to apply must have completed an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. In addition, they must have completed 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. Possession of minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission.

In the program, a range of law courses, in conjunction with computer legal software courses, fully prepare students for employment in the legal profession. Among the specific courses within the Law Clerk are: Current Issues in Canadian Law, Corporate Law, Legal Research and Writing, Family Law, Computers for Law Clerks and more. To round out training provided on campus, students of the Law Clerk diploma offering partake in a work placement. “Our faculty members work with the students and meet with them individually to put together a wish list of what they would like to do for their work placement — whether it’s working for a law firm or a corporation or the government or in a courtroom setting. Our faculty then contacts the various employers, arranges the interview and the students are then working for the entire 15-week semester, four days a week,” says Patty-Ann Sullivan, coordinator of the Law Clerk diploma program.

In order to graduate, 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. The Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario accredits the Law Clerk program.

Upon graduation from the Law Clerk program, responsibilities include: exploring and studying legal documents for determining causes of action, examining law of cases and facts, and preparing cases; preparing affidavits of documents, maintaining case correspondence and document files; researching analyzing law sources for preparing draft of briefs for approval, review, and advance use by attorneys screening petitions, motions and complaints filed to determine the litigant’s legal merit; advising the judge on the priority needs and status of assigned cases; setting up courtroom, recording equipment, and recording court proceedings; delivering subpoenas to parties and witnesses to action; maintaining retrieval and information storage services including legal search facilities and library; communicating and arbitrating dispute between different parties; helping judges in the translation of legal documents; and more.

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