Law Clerk Dos and Don`ts

1. Do keep regular,
predictable hours. Both
your supervising attorney
and the attorney
supervising the law clerks
program should have a
copy of your planned
2. Do complete time sheets
when they are due – both
for Land of Lincoln and for
the law school, if
necessary. Land of Lincoln
time sheets are due
immediately following the
15th and the last day of
each month, and are
generated in Legal Server.
3. Do tell your
supervising attorney
and the administrative
secretary if you are
going to be late or
absent. You must call
no later than ten
minutes after you were
expected in the office.
4. DON’T give out
anyone’s extension.
5.Do take care of your paperwork
and responsibilities for getting
externship credit from the law
school, if applicable. Once the
law school has approved your
externship, it is our
understanding that you are
locked in to your selection. So, if
you signed up for 2 credits, you
must do 120 hours; 3 credits, 180
hours; and 4 credits, 240 hours. It
is our understanding that you
cannot change your mind in midsummer and opt for 2 credits if
you have signed up for more
credits. Our understanding is to
only do 120 hours when you have
signed up for 3 or 4 credits will
result in a failure of the
6. Don’t make the law school
call me months from now to find
out how many hours you worked
this summer.
7.Do maintain
confidentiality. You may
discuss cases with your
fellow clerks within the
office. You should talk
about your cases with
your supervising attorney.
You are also free to
discuss your cases with
other staff in the office. Do
not talk about your cases
with your friends, other
than to share general
8. Don’t promise clients
anything. Leave that to
your supervisor to decide.
9. Do keep a conflicts log,
especially if you plan on
working some day at a big law
10.Do keep case file notes in
Legal Server – keep them
every time you work on a
case, at the time you are
working on it. You should keep
track of phone calls, including
numbers you used to reach
the client or whomever you
called, even if the phone
number is disconnected, you
had to leave a message, or
you were unable to reach
anyone. You should keep
track of letters or pleadings
you drafted, memos you wrote,
and anything you do in a case.
11. DON’T take files out of
the office. If you need
some information to work
on something from home,
and your supervisor is in
agreement, you may
make copies of materials
in the file.
12. Don’t leave files
scattered around. Return
them to your supervisor,
or keep them in the law
clerk file cabinet in the
receptionist area.
13. Do save your work (pleadings,
memos, letters, etc.) on your
supervisor’s directory (e.g.,
clients/”client’s name”/client letter –
apply for food stamps). To log in
remotely to RDS, go to Your user
name will generally be your first
initial last name (i.e., szielke), and
your password will be Fall2011.
14. DON’T accidentally save
changes to our basic computer forms
(letterheads, pleadings, etc.) If the
computer instructs you that a form
you are opening is a read-only form,
open it as read only. Then, once you
begin working on the form, save it in
the proper directory.
15. Don’t hang around
someone who is on the phone
or talking to someone else. You
can come back later. If your
supervisor tells you to wait, then
feel free to wait.
16. Do ask questions. The staff
does not bite.
17. Do feel free to use the
refrigerator, freezer, and
microwave if you want to bring
your lunch/snacks. Coffee and
hot water is available to you,
18. Do wash your own dishes
and clean up your own messes.
19. Don’t worry about
being perfect. This is a
learning experience for
20. Don’t hide your
mistakes. If you realize
you have misunderstood,
made a mistake,
misstated information,
etc., own up to it. It is our
license to practice law
that is on the line.
21. Do enjoy yourself.

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