Advocates’ clerks provide support to Advocates (similar to barristers in England and Wales), organising the workload and day-to-day business in the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh. The clerks' role and responsibilities increase with experience.
A deputy clerk's duties include negotiating fees in straightforward cases, preparing accounts, posting invoices and collecting fees, filing, photocopying and answering the phone.
A senior clerk is responsible for the work, recruitment and training of junior clerks and clerical staff. They liase with solicitors and seek to establish good relationships with them. They use their familiarity with previous cases and knowledge of the expertise of each advocate to recommend particular advocates for a case.
Other duties include estimating the amount of work involved in a case and scheduling court commitments. Promotion and marketing are becoming a larger part of the work as advocates are having to compete with solicitor advocates (who can also appear in high court).
Clerks normally work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. However, depending on the type of case, hours could be longer and more irregular. The library is open 24 hours a day.
The work is in an open plan office based near the Advocates’ Library at Parliament House in Edinburgh. Travel to solicitors' offices may sometimes be required. Formal business dress is expected.
As an advocates’ clerk, you should:
The profession is very small and opportunities are limited. There are only 11 'stables' or groups of advocates, each with an advocates' clerk. In total, there are a further 22 deputy advocates' clerks. They are all employed by Faculty Services Ltd, a company providing support services to advocates. One advocates’ clerk and one or two deputies normally work for 30-40 advocates. The promotion route is from deputy clerk to clerk, and jobs are advertised in the Edinburgh press.
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