What it takes to be a Law Clerk

On some of my earlier Blogs here, I have discussed the why I do what I do, but I have never discussed how I got here. Becoming a Law Clerk does takes specific education and training.

Back in the day when I went to College, there was no Law Clerk designation program at Durham (yes, I’m from the ‘Shaw), it was a Legal Assistant Program. That program took 3 years to complete, full-time, and involved 2 placements. When I graduated in 2000, the Institute of Law Clerk of Ontario (“ILCO”) recognized our program as a Law Clerk program, which meant that with my education, I could be designated through ILCO as a Law Clerk and apply to be a member. That was exciting news for when I found a job.

What is ILCO? ILCO is a professional association providing continuing education, fellowship and networking for its members and ILCO’s mandate is to provide and promote general and legal education to its members for the purpose of increasing their knowledge, efficiency and professional ability.

So, how can you obtain your education and become a member of ILCO?

Nowadays, you there are 2 ways that you can become a Law Clerk:

  1. Full-time for 2 years at a College that has the Law Clerk program, like Humber College, and obtain your diploma as a Law Clerk. You then can apply to ILCO for your Certificate; or
  2. Night school at a College carrying the program, take the required four courses, being Real Estate, Litigation, Estates and Corporate, write the closed book Exam at the end of each course, and once you pass all four examinations, you can get your designation as a Law Clerk, and apply for your certificate from ILCO.

When you attend full-time at a College, there are other subjects you learn about, such as law firm accounting, managing trust accounts, office management, case law research and so on. Additionally, as a full-time College student, you are required to complete a placement. That, in my mind, was invaluable to me, and I learned a lot during my placements.

To be able to work effectively in a law firm, even though not as a lawyer, we do require to know what we are doing – there is no “winging it”. The more we know, the more of an asset we are.

Christine Allan
Law Clerk