Distinguishing Between a Law Clerk & a Paralegal

Law Clerk vs Paralegal

Law clerk and paralegal are terms that are used for a category of people serving in the legal fraternity, particularly in the offices of attorneys and lawyers. These professionals provide assistance and help to attorneys in the form of doing research work and doing the homework in dealing with the case of a client. However, despite overlap and lots of similarities, the two terms, law clerk and paralegal, are not synonymous and there are many differences that will be highlighted in this article.

Law Clerk

A law clerk is a legal professional who works under the supervision of a lawyer or a judge in a court and helps and assists in research and determination of legal opinions. Law clerks look after legal issues consulting legal books, journals, earlier judgments and articles in legal magazines. While the role of a law clerk when working under the supervision of an attorney is to help and assist him in dealing with the cases of his clients, his role becomes different when he is serving under a judge in a law court. There are many law graduates who take up the opportunity to serve a sitting judge as they can learn a lot as an apprentice. In a law court, a law clerk should not be construed as an administrative clerk. A law clerk is referred to as a judicial assistant in the UK. As an assistant to judge, a law clerk is asked to handle much of the work of a judge.


Paralegal is a term that is applied to a category of people who work as aides to attorneys in the legal system. In Ontario, Canada, Paralegals are licensed by the state, and their profession is regulated, giving a legal status to the profession. However, in most other countries, there is no licensing authority for paralegals and they normally work as assistants to attorneys handling their legal requirements while dealing with the cases of their clients. There seems to be no consistency and uniformity in regulating the terms and conditions of employment and training of paralegals around the world. In general, paralegals carry out legal research at the behest of the supervising attorney. They also execute the orders of the attorney in relation to the cases of their clients.

Key Takeaways

  • A law clerk is a legal job that allows an individual to work under the supervision of an attorney in his office or work as an aide and assistant to a sitting judge in a court of law.
  • Paralegal is a term used for people working as an assistant to a lawyer though there is no uniformity, and the profession is not a licensed one except in Ontario, Canada.
  • Many fresh law graduates consider it an honor to get an opportunity to work as a law clerk under a judge.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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