Advocates' clerks organise the daily workload and administration for a ‘stable’ (group) of Advocates.
Your work will depend on how senior you are.
You could be:
- organising Advocates' paperwork and planning their schedules
- helping advocates to prepare cases, by doing research
- arranging meetings with solicitors and clients
- going to court with Advocates, with books and papers relevant to the case
- recommending an Advocate suitable for a particular case
- managing the practice as a business by keeping diaries and recruiting and training junior clerks
- negotiating fees for Advocates
- filing, photocopying, answering the phone, posting invoices, collecting fees and keeping financial records
- organising and classifying items in the library.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Advocates' clerk salaries are not made publicly available, but starting salaries are around £25.000. This will rise with experience.
- Most Advocates' clerks work in offices in the Advocates' Library in Parliament House in Edinburgh. A small number work in Glasgow.
- You may travel to courts around the country.
- Your standard working hours would be 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, although hours can be irregular.
- You may have to work evenings and weekends, when your Advocates are working on a complex case or when deadlines are tight.
- You have to dress formally, usually in a dark suit.
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- You would start as an assistant deputy or deputy Advocates' clerk.
- The minimum entry requirement is Higher English. However, many stables prefer you to have 3 or more Highers, including English.
- Increasing numbers of entrants have a degree in law, legal studies or politics.
- For entry to a degree course, you normally need 4-5 Highers. Higher English is usually required, and for some courses you may need Maths at National 5. However, entry requirements can vary considerably among universities and colleges and you should check the details in the relevant prospectuses.
- You may need previous experience in an administrative role.
Advocates' clerks usually work for Faculty Services Ltd (FSL), a company providing support services to Advocates. There are 9 FSL stables based in Parliament House in Edinburgh. A stable usually has one Advocate's clerk and at least one deputy clerk. There are also 20 advocates that do not subscribe to the FSL clerking services, but may practice with or without a clerk.
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What Does it Take?
You need to have:
- good written and spoken communication skills
- good concentration
- a polite, professional and helpful manner
- patience and perseverance
- excellent organisational skills
- a good memory
- good IT skills
- respect for confidentiality
- sound judgement.
You also need to be:
- able to work well under pressure and to deadlines
- a good negotiator
- attentive to detail
- good with numbers.
- You would train on the job under the supervision of an experienced clerk.
- You may attend short training courses and seminars from time to time.
- As you gain experience and develop your skills, your duties increase and you may be able to move on to become an Advocate's clerk or practice manager.
- As part of your ongoing training you would probably take short courses run by Faculty Services Ltd.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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