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How to Interact with a Court Clerk

published June 17, 2009

Silas Reed
( 15 votes, average: 4.4 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Quick Reference of Their Importance

All clerks, specifically county court clerks, are very important to the legal system. They're part of the busy staff that helps regulate the inner workings of a courthouse and assists the judge in helping to do their job efficiently. They're so busy that they could probably be seen as either cold and distant, or just pleasantly stoic. A lot of them are nice and tolerant, however, but it's recommended to not test them or you'll be sorry. They are at the epicenter of the legal system's bureaucracy and they boost its effectiveness through a near-fundamentalist work ethic.

Always Be Polite

No matter where you go, behaving in a civilized manner always goes a long way. This is especially true when it comes to interacting with clerk officers that work in a county. Being civil absolutely guarantees that your papers will go smoother than most times. In contrast, yelling or getting upset at the clerk officer is a surefire way to disturb the process of your files and will take about half a day, if you're lucky. So it's always a good idea to behave appropriately at all times so things are a little easier for you. Avoid smiling too much though because flattery most likely gets you nowhere.

Be Understanding

Keep in mind that this is a full-time job for Peace Clerks. Not only are they sensitive when it comes to their work, but they absolutely hate it when strangers come in and tell them how to do their job. Criticizing and being judgmental of their work ethic is a surefire way for them to be aggravated with you and doing that to them only backfires on you tenfold. Yield to their opinions or judgment and you'll see the court clerk respond in a positive manner almost immediately.

Always Be Prepared

There's probably nothing more annoying to a clerk officer than you showing up and not being able to know what the answers are to a basic question that concerns your papers. Always be knowledgeable and answer appropriately whenever they ask you questions. The worst thing that can happen is that your files won't be processed at all and you'll just sit there wondering what to do next.

About Legal Questions

Another thing that might prove to be annoying to a clerk is that when people ask them for legal advice. Don't do it, simply because they are actually prohibited by law from dispensing legal counsel and other matters concerning advice on the law. Lawyers are the only ones who have that right, so asking court clerks for their opinion is only a timewaster. Only ask questions about simple matters concerning procedures or overviews.

Be Patient

Processing your papers might take a while. It's understandable for you to feel bored or even stressed out, so the best thing for you to do is to bring some things to entertain you while you wait. Stop staring at the clerks, because it's not going to help at all. They might even consider that as a hostile act and prolong your torture. Bring a book or your mp3 player so you won't get aggravated. Bring some light snacks if you have to, just don't mess up the place.

Interacting with clerks can be hard sometimes. But you have to remember that these people are the backbone of the courtrooms and legal documentations. Staying in a relaxed and positive mood helps not only you, but it also helps the court clerks to do their job efficiently.