Law clerk

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A law clerk or a judicial clerk is a person who provides assistance to a judge in researching issues before the court and in writing opinions. Law clerks are not court clerks or courtroom deputies, who are administrative staff for the court.

Most law clerks are recent law school graduates who performed at or near the top of their class. Various studies have shown clerks to be influential in the formation of case law through their influence on judges' decisions. Working as a law clerk generally opens up career opportunities.

While there has been relatively little inquiry comparing clerks across nations, some research has been done comparing clerkship practices in the U.S. with non-U.S. courts. Still, in some countries the position of law clerk does not exist. But in many nations clerk-duties are performed by permanent staff attorneys or junior apprentice-like judges, such as those that sit on France's Conseil d'État. In English Courts, they are known as Judicial Assistants. The permanent staff attorneys, or clerks—called Referendaires at the European Court of Justice provide one point of comparison to American clerks. Australian, Canadian, Swedish and Brazilian practices can also help illuminate the similarities and differences across nations.


In Australia, the position of law clerk is known either as "Associate" (in the High Court of Australia, the Federal Court of Australia and most State Supreme Courts) or "Tipstaff" (in the Supreme Court...
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