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Pretrial Motions in a U.S. District Court: The Role of the Law Clerk

NCJ Number
Judicature Volume: 74 Issue: 1 Dated: (June-July 1990) Pages: 44-50
A M Boley
Date Published
7 pages
The article presents the results of a study testing the accuracy of two images of the relationship between law clerk and judge and concerns itself with the district court activity most like appellate practice which is the handling of pretrial motions.
The study was conducted in the Eastern District of Michigan. Seven judges participated, and 12 of 33 clerks responded. The first image examined involves the "clerkship ideal" where the judge retains responsibility for decision-making and the clerk forces the judge to justify the decision-making process. The second image is that of the court system as a bureaucracy. The overall results were that, in the Eastern District of Michigan, both judges and law clerks see the clerks as an essential part of the system, who lighten the judges' burdens and serve as an important tool in shaping their decisions. The bureaucratization of the courts that some fear did not appear to be a significant problem to those participating in the study. 24 notes


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