18 Pros and Cons of Being a Judge

Judge

Judges play a vital role in the justice system.

Once you have your law degree, you can choose to become a judge, helping the jury to understand the facts and make a ruling on various cases.

Knowing the pros and cons of a judge can help you understand more about what the job entails and whether it is the kind of career you can see yourself in for the long term.

Pros of Being a Judge

Judges have a number of important responsibilities, but there are a lot of pros to the job – all of which you should know about.

1. The Pay is Good

Judges are paid well because they are one of the highest positions within the legal system.

On average, judges will earn between $180,000 and $270,000 per year.

Much of the pay will depend on the level of courts that you work in and how long you have been working as a judge.

In addition, you can also look forward to a pension and other benefits.

2. The Title Is Prestigious

The moment that you tell people you are a judge, you will be seen as a white-collar, highly professional individual.

It can be a prestigious job title that will open a lot of doors in society.

You will come across individuals who will want to bribe you so that you are favorable in a particular case – and while it will be tempting to accept, you will also have to remember that it is illegal.

3. There are Plenty of Advancement Opportunities

There are always conflicts between individuals and computers cannot make the decisions – judges will be needed at all times.

The future outlook is positive, and there are advancement opportunities as you move into courts on state and federal levels.

After enough experience working as a judge, you may even have the potential to work in a U.S. Court of Appeals or even the U.S. Supreme Court.

4. You Will Have a Good Work-Life Balance

You will be working in government buildings, so you’ll typically follow the same schedules.

As such, you will not have to work nights, weekends, or holidays as a judge.

It will allow you to have a good work-life balance, including being able to maintain a relationship and raise a family.

Socially, you will be limited by what you can talk about since you cannot mention ongoing cases.

5. You Are in a Position of Power

You have a significant amount of power as a judge, which can help you to walk taller and boost your ego.

You will wear suits every day, be referred to as “The Honorable” in all correspondence, and have many people who will race to help you with various tasks.

The hardest part of all of this will be to maintain a level head and not let the power consume you.

6. Various Individuals Will Assist You

You will have the opportunity to delegate a lot of the work to court employees around you.

With you sitting at the top of the food chain, you will not have to be bothered by the more menial tasks.

You can even request aides to go get your lunch on a daily basis so that you have more time to read up on the cases coming up.

7. You Will Enjoy Job Security

There is a significant amount of job security because there is always the need for criminal justice.

You also have the ability to move back and forth between being a judge and being a lawyer.

It can ensure that you do not grow bored within your career field.

Since this is one area where computers cannot take over, job security is there as long as you are fair and bipartisan with your rulings.

8. Every Day is New and Different

Each and every day is going to be different because you will be presiding over new cases.

You will meet new people, work with new lawyers, and be able to make decisions on the various cases that come across your courtroom.

It will ensure that you do not become bored at the job.

9. You Play a Key Role in the Justice System

You have the ability to make the world a safer place by sending criminals to jail and performing community service hours.

As a judge, you are the one making the final decision about what happens with criminals, and that makes you an invaluable member of the justice system.

Many criminals will learn their lessons because of the experience they have with you.

10. You Will Have a Comfortable Working Environment

You will have the pleasure of working indoors on a daily basis.

You can enjoy the air-conditioning, comfortable seating, and spacious desks.

You will also have access to the judge’s chambers where you will be left alone to study case files, prepare for upcoming trials, and review the law.

This can offer you a significant amount of peace without any menial interruptions.

Cons of Being a Judge

Being a judge is not always easy, which is why you have to learn about the cons before following this career path.

1. You Will Need an Advanced Degree

You will spend a significant amount of time in school – and likely rack up a lot of student loan debt along the way.

You will need to hold a bachelor’s degree in a field such as political science, history, or business.

Then, you will also need to make sure that you have a Juris doctorate.

Assuming you go to school full-time, you will be taking classes for at least eight years before you can graduate with the necessary degree requirements.

2. Not All Cases are Easy

Some cases are going to be challenging, no matter how smart you are or how long you have been practicing law.

You may have a “gut feeling” about someone, but you will have to use the evidence in front of you as well as the letter of the law to make a decision.

In some instances, you will have to spend a lot of time researching previous cases to help you figure out what needs to be done.

3. People Will Not Like Your Decisions

There are going to be times when people do not like your decisions.

This can involve the people associated with the case, the media, and even the general public.

Depending on how high profile the case is, you may encounter people protesting in front of the courts, making it hard for you to get in every day without being questioned or yelled at.

You may also be featured in various newspaper articles as people feel the need to critique you.

4. You Will Work Long Hours

While you may not work nights, weekends, and holidays inside of the courtroom, you may still be putting in a lot of hours every week.

This is because you will take the work home with you to read through case files, legal books, and more.

It can help you to make the best possible decision about the cases that will be in your courtroom for the following week.

5. You Need Practical Experience

In order to become a judge, you will need a significant amount of practical experience.

It will help you to understand your responsibilities as well as how to translate the law to apply to specific cases.

There are judicial internships that can help you with some of the behind-the-scenes action.

You will also need to gain years of experience before you can even think about applying for some of the higher-level courts.

6. It Can Be Stressful

There is a lot of stress involved with being a judge because there is always a new case that requires your full attention.

Most of the stress will come from within as you wonder whether you are making the right decision about a person’s fate.

You may also feel unprepared for certain cases because of the amount of research that has to be done before the trial date.

7. There Is a Lot of Paperwork

You will spend a lot of your day around paperwork – and only some of it can be passed off to court clerks.

You will need to fill out forms, get certificates, and write up reports that provide your opinion of the case, which is filed with each and every case.

In addition to the paperwork that you produce, you will also spend a lot of your day sorting paperwork that comes in from different cases and reading reports that have been given to you for your opinion.

8. People Will Threaten You

Once you make a verdict on a case, there may be threats that come your way – either from the family of the accused or even from the person who is sent to jail.

High-profile cases may even require you to have security so that you are kept safe throughout the deliberation as well as beyond.

Pros and Cons of Being a Judge -Summary Table

Pros of Being a JudgeCons of Being a Judge
1. The Pay is Good1. You Will Need an Advanced Degree
2. The Title Is Prestigious2. Not All Cases are Easy
3. There are Plenty of Advancement Opportunities3. People Will Not Like Your Decisions
4. You Will Have a Good Work-Life Balance4. You Will Work Long Hours
5. You Are in a Position of Power5. You Need Practical Experience
6. Various Individuals Will Assist You6. It Can Be Stressful
7. You Will Enjoy Job Security7. There Is a Lot of Paperwork
8. Every Day is New and Different8. People Will Threaten You
9. You Play a Key Role in the Justice System
10. You Will Have a Comfortable Working Environment

Should You Become a Judge?

It will take some time to become a judge because of the doctoral degree that you will need.

However, you can be paid well – and depending on the area of law that you choose to preside over, it can be very rewarding.

Talk with judges and even ask to shadow one so that you can learn the pros and cons in-depth before making any career decisions.

Jamie Willis