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A judge's associate is a qualified lawyer who provides both legal and administrative assistance and support to a judge. This may range from organisational tasks such as scheduling and note taking to conducting legal research and proofreading legal documents. Judges associates also accompany their judge to court and are responsible for officially asking the accused for their plea, empanelling the jury, taking the verdict and keeping any exhibits that are put before the court. Gaining employment as a judge's associate is competitive and is an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience in the workings of the legal system and to network with other legal professionals. It is not uncommon for lawyers, barristers and judges themselves to begin their legal careers as judge's associates. Relevant legal work experience improves chances of employment, though due to the large amount of one on one contact, a good personal fit between judge's associate and judge is also essential.