If things like court procedures, the court system and jurisdictional rules interest you, then a career as a law clerk may be the route to take. More specifically, in Canada, there are two types of law clerks: trial and appellate. Appellate law clerks are responsible for researching and analyzing complex issues in civil and criminal appeals. They also inform the judge and legal staff of the legal issues of a case prior to oral arguments. Meanwhile, 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. Both types of law clerks make recommendations regarding the disposition of appeals and may heavily influence a judge’s decision. The position is one of the most sought-after careers in the legal industry. However, to obtain a job and be successful, a Law Clerk Diploma is essential.
At Centennial College, students can study in the two-year Law Clerk Program, which results in an Ontario College Diploma. In order to apply, students must be able to prove that they have 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.
Centennial College’s Law Clerk program is actually accredited by the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario (ILCO). This accreditation ensures that students are acquiring the skills necessary to practice in this field. Within the program, there is a wide range of courses that focus on career-oriented assignments in conjunction with computer legal software courses. These courses include: Strategies for Business Success, Current Issues in Canadian Law, Family Law, Legal Research and Writing Skills, Government Boards and Agencies and more. The in-school learning is balanced with a four-day-per-week work placement during which students spend time in a law, corporate or government office during the final semester of the Law Clerk diploma program.
In order to graduate and become a Toronto 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. Upon graduation, most Toronto law 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.
Author documents how Centennial College offers a Law Clerk Diploma
program that balances theory with a work placement so that students are employble upon graduation.