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Applying for Tipstaff/Associate Positions in NSW

Judge Clark Brown from Boston Legal

The role of a tipstaff or judge's associate is to assist to a judge in court and to provide research and administrative assistance to the judge in chambers.

Where should I begin?

Applications should be sent to each judge’s chambers early in the previous year. Most applications will be due around March, however, this will differ from each judge. As each judge’s chambers operate individually, it is recommended that you contact the chambers of individual judges for specific information relating to the application process. You can call the respective associate for that judge between 4-5pm on weekdays to introduce yourself.

Some questions which you may ask include:

  • Is the particular judge seeking to appoint a tipstaff/associate for the following year?

  • What are the requirements for the application?

  • When should I send my application in by?

  • Do you prefer to receive the application by email or post?

  • Who should I address the application and/or cover letter to?

What do I include in my application?

  • Usually you will be required to forward the following documents:

  • Cover Letter;

  • Curriculum Vitae; and

  • Academic Transcript.

What should I address in my cover letter?

It’s important to ensure that your cover letter is not recycled, but instead tailored to each judge. The following are some points you may address:

  • Why do you want to work for that particular judge? E.g. you may be interested in the particular area of law they have practised in or the type of cases they preside over (perhaps there is a significant case that the judge presided over)

  • Academic qualifications e.g. GPA, honours, etc

  • Relevant work experience e.g. legal research skills

  • Relevant university extracurricular activities e.g. mooting competitions, etc

  • Anything else about yourself that might be relevant to the position you are applying for

As with any cover letter, it should not exceed more than one page. Always proofread your application for spelling errors!

For more information, visit the NSW Supreme Court website or the Federal Court of Australia website.

This article was submitted by Survive Law reader Sheetal Balakrishnan. If you have a story idea for Survive Law, send us an email at

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