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Court Administrator


Description

The court system in the US is complex. There are so many things going on in a court, be it state or federal. Judges are sentencing people and interpreting laws. Lawyers and paralegals are working to secure freedoms and justice. Security guards are trying to keep prisoners and witnesses under control. Meanwhile, below the surface, there is are a few diligent workers, keeping it all together.

Court administrators, also known as registry officers and court officers, handle the administrative duties of courts. This means they manage other staff, they do the budgets, they monitor the juries, they understand and use all the computer operations, and they see that the heat and electricity are paid for each month. They are the people who open the court, announcing the judge before a trial. They swear in witnesses, and mark exhibits. They organize satellite testimony and the use of technology in the courthouse. Because of this, a background in technology, as well as computers, math and law are good assets for a court administrator to have.

Court administrators do all the picky bits of running a courthouse so that the judges can concentrate on trials and the practicalities of law. They are the people who keep the courthouse going.
 
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Platt College
Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.
Programs Offered:
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  Interests and Skills  
Interested in a career in legal administration? Court administrators need strong leadership skills, as they make decisions for others, and also may supervise other administrative staff. They should be logical, with a strong math background. Also, computer and other technological skills are must-haves, as scheduling and accounting duties will be carried out with a computer. These individuals must be organized, efficient and able to work in a professional manner with lawyers, judges, and other senior staff, as well as communicate effectively with those they supervise.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Set work priorities for court staff
  • Schedule court trials and arrange pre-trial meetings
  • Record relevant details about each trial, such as trial start date, and judgments
  • Collect and record court administrative and services fees
  • Oversee the maintenance of judicial court records
  • Assist in preparing annual budgets
  • Open court, announcing judge
  • Swear in witnesses
  • Mark exhibits
  • The typical day for a court administrator will be fairly straightforward. There will be a lot of scheduling, making sure the court calendar is understood by all court staff. There will be meetings with other staff to discuss juries, upcoming trial dates, or any technology needed in upcoming trials. There is the maintenance of court records, the need to explain particular court protocol to lawyers, and the budget to monitor and revise if need be. There will also be the work at the trials themselves - swearing in witnesses, and marking exhibits. The day will be full of tasks, but they are tasks you can leave behind at the end of the day - while the job is high-pressure, it does not often entail late nights or weekends at the office.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Most court administrators work a regular, 40-hour work week in comfortable offices, with weekends and evenings off. The position may offer a minimal amount of travel between courthouses in the area. There is also work in the courtrooms during trials.
  • They can be employed by the state or federal government, working in state courts, the supreme court, or civil and family court. Court administrators are considered to be civil servants. They do not open firms, join firms, or work as independent court administrators.
  • Depending on the location of the court, administrators may work alone, or in a team.

  Long Term Career Potential  
A court administrator most likely began as one of many workers being supervised by a more senior administrator. With enough experience, this could be the path you choose to take. However, you could also take the knowledge you have gained and go to law school, applying your history to a career as a lawyer or judge. However, there is still the option of moving around the court system. There are also other clerical jobs, which may require a little more training, within the court system.
 

  Educational Paths  
While court administrators do not require any sort of certification, there are a number of legal administration programmes available at colleges across the country. These courses deal with many aspects of court administration, including management, legal precedents and principles, and the practical, day-to-day administration of a courthouse. Many courses offer internships with law firms or courts. Anyone who finds a job as a court administrator will get additional on-the-job training. Some people choose to go into administration after completing a degree in law, or after doing an undergraduate degree in politics, social studies.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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