Court administrators do much more than secretarial work. They're typically tasked with monitoring the judicial calendar, scheduling court appearances and determining trial dates. They also review court pleadings and documents to ensure they meet court standards, provide attorneys and the public with court information and respond to public requests for information. Because the duties of a court administrator -- often called a clerk -- vary significantly depending on jurisdiction and the judge under whom the administrator works, there is no single average salary.
Average and Range
A survey by the National Center for State Courts found that most surveyed court administrators make between $100,000 and $150,000 each year. However, this survey only polled chief administrators who were charged with overseeing an entire court system, and many of the administrators were judges themselves. Many administrators work for a single judge or group of judges, and these administrators typically earn less. GlassDoor lists salaries ranging from $40,000 to $60,000 for administrators in these roles.
Type of Court
The U.S. court system operates according to a hierarchical system, where cases begin in state courts. If a party files an appeal, the case may move to a higher court, such as the state appeals court or Supreme Court. Cases with only a small dollar value in dispute may be heard in small claims or magistrate courts. In these hyper-local courts, administrators typically earn less, while courts at the highest level -- in state and federal Supreme Courts -- earn much more. The National Center for State Courts, for example, lists average salaries of $136,547 for state court administrators and $157,759 for administrators in a state's highest court.
Court administrator duties vary significantly from court to court. In some court systems, court clerks are only charged with filing paperwork and monitoring the court's calender. In other court systems, clerks have significant power over which cases are heard and when they are heard. Some court systems, such as the Dekalb County, Georgia, judicial circuit, even require chief administrators to run for office.
Time on the Job
Court administrators are government employees, which means that their salaries are often determined by a complex government salary calculation system. This system typically rewards employees who have significant experience, as well as those who have remained with the government for an extended time. Court clerks may receive annual cost of living raises, or their salaries may be calculated partially based on how long they have been with the court.
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