How to Become a Judge

Judges hold one of the most prestigious professions in the nation.

This may because Judges are highly experienced in law and are responsible for managing the legal process in court.

Judges may specialize in different areas of the law from presiding over trials and hearings to overseeing the management of traffic offenses.

Individuals who want to become a Judge may already know that it will take several years of education and experience in order to enter this profession.

However, all the hard work put into entering this profession will assure an individual will be a part of one of the most respected professions.

Education Requirements to Become a Judge

Individuals who want to become a Judge will need to complete several years of postsecondary education as well as several years of experience in order to enter this profession.

Individuals must first complete a bachelor’s degree, attend law school, become licensed and gain experience practicing law as an attorney before being selected or voted into this profession.

There is no specific undergraduate degree an individual needs to focus on in order to become a judge.

However, there are some recommended courses an individual is suggested to take in order to improve their communication and public speaking skills.

Some suggested courses include: mathematics, history, economics, English, public speaking and government.

After attaining an undergraduate degree, an individual must then take the entrance exam into law school.

Individuals may visit LSAC to learn more information about the entrance exam.

The majority of law school programs typically last 3 years to complete.

The typical program will include courses concentrating on: legal writing, property law, civil procedure, constitutional law and contracts.

After completing a law degree, individuals must then take the licensing exam, most commonly referred to “the bar” in order to practice as an attorney.

This requirements to take the licensing exam will depend on the state an individual resides in.

Individuals can visit NCBE for more information on the requirements and testing details.

Individuals who want to become a Judge will need experience practicing as an attorney in order to gain the skills and knowledge needed to serve as a judge.

Because judges are appointed or voted into this position, individuals must also gain the necessary reputation to be elected into this position.

Judge Job Description

Judges are responsible for presiding over a court room and applying the law.

These professionals may work at the local, state or federal courts.

The most important aspect to succeeding in this profession is to interpret the law and assure that the legal process is fair for all parties and sides involved.

In addition to presiding over a courtroom, Judges will also complete thorough legal research, read and assess a variety of documentation including: records, claim applications and motions.

They will supervise hearing and gather information from arguments presented by opposing parties.

Judges will determine if any testimony supports the charges, disputes or claims which will also be used to resolve any disputes or charges.

Judges will use laws to determine a judgment or sentence.

Judge Salary and Career Path

In 2012, the median annual salary for Judges and Hearing Officers was approximately $115,760 per year.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including the specialization and area a Judge works in.

For example, Hearing Officers, Adjudicators and Administrative Law Judges can expect to earn a median salary of $87,240 per year.

The job outlook for Judges and Hearing Officers is expected to increase job opportunities by 1 to 2 percent through the year 2022.

This rate is considered little to no growth and is attributed to the process needed to authorize and approve a new position through legislation.

This growth will also be assisted by the fact that many judges may leave their positions due to pursuing teaching opportunities, the end of their elected term is approaching or because they are leaving the occupation due to retirement.

The road to become a Judge can be a long and arduous one, but once an individual does so, they can be assured they are a member of a very prestigious and respected profession.

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