Advocates' Clerk (Scotland)

The Job and What's Involved

As an advocates' clerk, you would organise the administration and workload for a group or 'stable' of advocates (the equivalent of barristers in England and Wales).

Your day-to-day tasks would depend on your level of experience, but might include:

  • Taking books and papers to and from court.
  • Filing, photocopying and dealing with letters and phone calls.
  • Dealing with invoices, payments and accounts.
  • Organising the law library.
  • Researching information to help advocates prepare for cases.
  • Arranging meetings with solicitors and clients.
  • Negotiating advocates' fees.
  • Recommending the most suitable advocate for a particular case.
  • Managing each advocate's diary and organising their court appearances.
  • Recruiting and training junior clerks.
  • Promoting and marketing the practice to attract new business.

Each stable of advocates is managed by one clerk and also employs a small number of deputy clerks.

You would typically work standard office hours Monday to Friday, although your hours may occasionally be longer if your advocates were working on a complex case.

Most clerks are based in Edinburgh, with a small number employed in Glasgow. You would spend some of your time visiting court and solicitors' offices. Formal business dress is expected.

You would be employed as an advocates' clerk by Faculty Services Ltd (FSL), a company that provides support services to advocates.

Salaries for deputy clerks are usually around £22,000 to £28,000 a year. Senior clerks earn £28,000 to £40,000 a year.

Deputy clerks are paid overtime if they work more than 35 hours a week.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

This is a small profession. There are 11 FSL stables, which each work for between 30 and 40 advocates. Each stable has one advocates' clerk and at least one deputy clerk.

Jobs are advertised in the Edinburgh press and on the Faculty's website.

Education and Training

To become an advocates' clerk you will need a minimum of Higher English, although many stables will prefer you to have three to five Highers including English. A growing number of advocates' clerks have an SQA HNC/HND or degree in law.

You may have an advantage with experience in court administration, legal secretarial work, accounts or management.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

You will start as a deputy clerk in an advocates' stable.

You will normally be trained on the job under the supervision of an experienced advocate's clerk.

Your employer may also arrange short training courses from time to time.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

An advocates' clerk needs:

  • Good spoken and written communication skills.
  • Excellent organisational and time-management skills.
  • A professional manner.
  • Tact and respect for confidential information.
  • The ability to work well in a team.
  • Willingness to work long hours when necessary.
  • The ability to work under pressure and to deadlines.
  • Computer skills.
  • Good negotiation and financial skills, for senior jobs.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, an advocates' clerk may progress to a senior clerk.

They may also progress to senior posts within the Scottish Legal System.

Get Further Information

Faculty of Advocates,
Parliament House, Edinburgh EH1 1RF
Tel: 0131 226 5071
Website: www.advocates.org.uk

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