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How to Become a File Clerk

Are you organized, have a good understanding of how to work with confidential data, and have an eye for detail? A career as a file clerk could be the exciting opportunity you’re looking for. 

File clerks handle the files for a company, law office, or other organization. They are responsible for checking incoming correspondence, invoices, etc., and making copies before distributing to the correct locations. They must have excellent attention to detail as they are tasked with separating files either alphabetically, by content, dates, significance, or some other means. They create and maintain records with new files and information. 

File clerks should be efficient, well organized, and use sound judgment when working with confidential files. While working as a file clerk, you must follow company policy and confidentiality protocols. You will also need to be proficient in handling paper and electronic files. Competency in working on computers and relevant computer software is essential. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are also necessary. Legal file clerks work for law offices where they organize and maintain records, including case files, documents, invoices, and correspondence. 

Sample job description

The file clerk is responsible for the accurate and timely filing of all company documents. They will also be responsible for retrieving documents as needed. The file clerk must be able to work independently in a fast-paced environment. We are looking for someone who is highly organized and has excellent attention to detail. The file clerk must be able to work well under pressure and meet deadlines. Typical duties will include filing all company documents accurately and promptly, retrieving documents as needed, and working independently in a fast-paced environment.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Maintain and organize files
  • Answer phones and greet visitors
  • Sort and respond to mail
  • Handle schedules and calendars
  • Maintain office equipment
  • Order supplies
  • Pay invoices

Education and experience

Legal file clerks need to earn a high school diploma or equivalent. A college degree is not typically required, and most employers provide on-the-job training for their specific needs. It would be helpful for a job candidate to have computer skills and an interest in law.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Computer skills, including Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel)
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work well with others
  • Discretion and the ability to handle confidential information
  • Expertise in time management and multitasking
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Keen attention to detail

Preferred qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently

Typical work environment

The file clerk typically works in an office environment. They may have to work independently or as part of a team. The file clerk may also have to work under pressure to meet deadlines. The majority of their day will be spent sitting and organizing files.

Typical hours

Legal file clerks usually work regular weekday hours in an office setting, but sometimes they might need to log more than 40 hours a week.

Available certifications

Though you don’t have to be certified to become a file clerk, it can help you secure a higher-paying position or help you stand out from the rest of the crowd. Here are some of the most popular file clerk certifications:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist. The majority of offices still use Microsoft Office on the daily, and if you aren’t experienced in all of the tools, you could have a difficult time being a file clerk. This certification has around 150 hours of instruction, and you will need to pass an exam to receive it.
  • Google Workspace Certification. Becoming certified in Google Workspace can really help you stand out from the crowd. This certification aims to show that you possess the digital skills to work collaboratively and productively in a professional environment. There are six different learning modules, and at the end, you’ll need to pass an exam to receive this certification.

Career path

Legal file clerks must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Further education is not usually required, and most employers offer hands-on training that meets their needs. Legal file clerks can use this entry-level position as a springboard to other jobs in the legal profession.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 43-4071

2020 Employment91,560
Projected Employment in 203087,100
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 13% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift12,600 decrease

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many large companies are expanding their in-house legal departments to save money. Hiring outside counsel costs more. As a result, there could be opportunities for file clerks in fields such as finance, insurance, consulting, and health care.

However, the demand for legal file clerks is dropping because files are being digitized.

Many law firms are offering employees flex time and telecommuting to accommodate a better work-life balance, although this might not apply to legal file clerks because of the work they do.