Law Clerk Training: 5 Areas of Law You Will Study in Class

Updated January 2023

Considering enrolling in law clerk training? Wondering how deeply you'll delve into legal procedures—and which areas of law you will focus on during your diploma?

Quality law clerk programs prepare students to carry out a wide range of legal office procedures, like booking appointments, managing client records, preparing documents, processing billing, and assisting lawyers with research.

After graduation, the type of work you do will vary according to the kind of law your supervising lawyer practises. Some firms specialize in one legal area, while others offer expertise across several domains.

This is why law clerk training includes instruction in multiple areas of the law. In this post, we offer prospective students a preview of five legal areas they will learn about during their diploma.

You could end up focusing on just one of these fields during your career, or you might gain experience in several. Which area of law interests you most?

1. Family Law

Family law governs relationships between spouses and between parents and their children. Law firms that specialize in family law help clients with matters like divorce and separation, custody agreements, adoption, property division, and child or spousal support.

If you're taking law clerk training in Ontario, you will study the federal rules of family law as well as the regulations and procedures that apply specifically to the province. You will also learn how to prepare the statements, agreements, forms, and other documents that are required in family law cases.

2. Corporate & Commercial Law

This type of law deals with business, and relates to the rules that govern starting, organizing, and running an enterprise. Corporate law covers issues like mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy, buying and selling a business, contracts, shareholder agreements, and the legal responsibilities of directors.

In law clerk courses, you'll learn the differences between federal and provincial corporations and how the law pertains to different kinds of companies, from small start-ups to international corporations to non-profit organizations.

Students with a natural interest in business and finance will find this area of study particularly fascinating.

3. Wills & Estates

Estate planning involves organizing the transfer of someone's assets (cash, property, jewellery, investments, etc.) to others after death. A will is a tool used in estate planning to clarify how assets should be distributed—and in cases where there are minor children, who will be appointed their guardian.

In law clerk training, you will study the laws that pertain to wills and estates in your province. You will learn about the role of lawyers and executors and learn how to prepare all of the paperwork needed to document, manage, and distribute an estate.

4. Litigation

When most people think about the field of law, they imagine dramatic courtroom confrontations where lawyers interrogate witnesses and try to out-manoeuvre each other for jury support.

They're thinking of the process of litigation—but it's usually nothing like the dramas we see on TV. Litigation is the process we use to enforce or defend our legal rights, but it doesn't necessarily involve going to trial. In fact, many disagreements are resolved through negotiation and never make it in front of a judge or jury.

In law clerk training, you will learn about the various steps and stages of the litigation process. It usually begins with lawyers on both sides collecting the facts and sending out preliminary documents—like a "cease and desist" demand letter or a notice of eviction. Sometimes this is enough to prompt a settlement.

Moving forward, lawyers enter the "discovery" phase, where they investigate and evaluate claims and gather evidence. This includes requesting documents, conducting research, taking depositions, and learning everything possible about the case to avoid surprises in court.

During your training, you will study litigation procedures in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and learn how to prepare trial records, application records, and other court documents.

5. Real Estate Law

As the name suggests, this area of law deals with the purchase and sale of "real" property. In legal terms, "real" property refers to buildings attached to land or the land itself (versus personal property, which is moveable and can include a very wide range of possessions).

Law clerk students learn the rules and steps involved in buying and selling real property, including mortgages and property registration. They gain experience drafting paperwork related to each stage, and learn how to use Ontario's online land registry to find ownership records, and register documents.

Interested in learning more about the areas of law you'll study, and the practical skills you'll learn in law clerk training? Considering diploma programs in the Ottawa area?

Take a look at the Law Clerk diploma offered by Herzing College at the Ottawa campus. Click below to browse a detailed list of law clerk courses, learn about career options, or chat live with a friendly advisor. We're here to help!

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