You are on a point to make your career decision and want to know how to become a judge then you are at the right place. Apart from becoming a lawyer, there are many opportunities in the legal field and one of them is becoming a judge.
Being a judge is a work of great responsibility. You will be hearing cases, looking into shreds of evidence, listening to witness and lawyers. You have to do research and read legal documents and then deciding the person is innocent or guilty.
Becoming a judge is a challenging yet interesting job. But it needs lots of determination and strength of your character to earn the rewards. Let us help you understand the steps for how to become a judge.
How To Become A Judge
Below are the steps to become a Judge and further in the article you can read the description of each step to follow the answer of how to become a judge.
- You need a bachelor’s degree
- You have to take a Law School Admission Test
- You have to earn a Juris Doctorate (J.D)
- You need to pass the bar exam
- Consider becoming Judicial Clerk
- Practice Law for a minimum of 2 years
- Earn the judgeship
How To Become A Judge Steps In Detail
Below is the brief for how to become a judge steps and requirements to become a Judge.
You Need a Bachelor’s Degree
The very first step towards becoming a Judge is to earn yourself a bachelor’s degree so that you can apply for a law school. Many schools offer you designated pre-law courses like criminal justice, political science, and philosophy.
Your course should include subjects like English, communications, sociology, and mainly public speaking. These steps will prepare you for the next step. Besides, to pertinent your coursework, you can complete an internship with a law practice or in the local court system.
To become a more appealing candidate for law school you can join some extracurricular activities like joining a debate club.
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You Have To Take A Law School Admission Test
The LSAT is a Law School Admission Test that the law schools take while the admission process. The test is most commonly appeared by undergraduate students that are in the late junior year or the start of the senior year.
The LSAT has five sections that are essay portion, logical reasoning, logic games, comprehension, and experimental section. Each section is of 35 minutes and 22 to 28 questions.
The higher your score can lead you to gain admission into the choice of college you want.
You have to Earn a Juris Doctorate (J.D)
As soon as you get your LSAT scores you should begin applying to law schools for admission. The law school education commonly consists of 3 years course.
The final year of law school allows you to complete the coursework on the subjects that you are interested in. Subjects like family or environmental law.
You earn Juris Doctorate as soon as you complete your course. You have to earn a J.D in American Bar Association-approved law school so that you can practice in the US.
You Need to Pass the BAR Exam
You have to pass the state bar exam so that you can practice law in that specific state. The state bar exam takes days to complete. It consists of mainly two parts that are essay section and the Multi-state Bar examination.
The first test taken is an essay test that takes a day or two days. The essay test is taken to test your abilities in understanding and applying the law as per the federal and state law. The second test is the MBE. This test consists of 200 questions.
Depending on the state the level of difficulty and makeup of first portions the certification is done. And the MBE requirements are also as per the state in which you are appearing for your exam.
The different characteristics of these exams the lawyer practicing in one state have to complete a further test to practice law in some other state.
Consider Becoming Judicial Clerk
This is an option that you must consider as soon as you complete the law school. Also serving as a clerk benefits you by adding high chances of you becoming a judge in the future. Clerkship is a work of great esteem and it sets you straight apart from other candidates.
The time when you are working as a clerk is very valuable as it helps you make good networking.
When a judge retires from his position they suggest a name to replace them. It is very common that the judge suggests the clerks who assisted them in past.
When you become a clerk you assist the judge in their duties, making decisions and in writing legal opinions. This close relationship with judges influences a lot on your profile than the ones who prefer proceeding directly into practice.
Practice Law for a minimum of 2 years
This is another very important part of how to become a judge? Judges are appointed after the legal careers of trying cases. There are several options to decide how to practice law.
You can choose to work as a prosecutor or a public defender for public service or you can work for private law practice.
There are many different areas to practice law, for example, health and bankruptcy law.
It is a very valuable activity to try cases it provides experience in courtroom proceedings and also opportunities to make your connections in legal circles.
When you participate in cases you may grab attention from the individuals who are responsible for appointing judges or individuals who are responsible for compiling shortlists for candidates.
As soon as you practice law for a minimum of 2 years you can start looking for good opportunities as a judge. It is very competitive to earn a seat as a judge as there are very limited seats available. There are three methods that can make you a judge.
This method is commonly used to elect local judges. The rules of electing judge differ state by state. There are many variables like length of terms, the time when the election occurs and how many terms can a judge serves.
Sometimes a judge is removed or steps down from the seat in the middle of the term. At this time the state allows the government to appoint a replacement. The appointed judge is commonly seated till the next scheduled election or sometimes a special election n is held if the scheduled election is too far.
Many times the judicial seats are also appointed by executives like governors or the Presidents of the U.S. Such federal seats are often lifetime seats. The candidates are shortlisted by an individual that is responsible for the appointment.
The candidates that are shortlisted commonly have to undergo an interview before they are selected and then they are presented in front of the state or federal legislative body for the final decision.
Important Skills of a Judge
Now you know how to become a judge here we would like to tell you what hard and soft skills a judge must have as a plus point. Below are the 4 most important skills
Knowledge of Local as well as federal law
Being a judge you must possess a very good and strong understanding of the law and the procedures of the court. This will help you for smooth, fair and legal trials and hearings
Being a judge you have to oversee a trial and make decisions with legal motions and hand down a sentence that needs critical thinking.
Communication skills of a judge are very important for relaying as well as for receiving information. For this, you must not only have verbal as well as good written communication skills.
As a judge, you have to make the right decisions in the court proceedings for which you must have an understanding and empathy so that you can relate to all parties.
Types of Judges
The court system has many different types of judges in the US. Below is the List
- District Court Judges
- Court of Appeal Judges
- Supreme Court Judges
- Article III Judges
Apart from the above-mentioned judges, there are other judges for the kind of cases, matters, and proceedings
- Magistrate Judges
- Bankruptcy Judges
- Recalled Judges
- Visiting Judges
Overview of Judge Career
Here is a small overview view of the career of a judge.
As a District Court Judge, you will be presiding criminal and civil cases.
When you are a Court of Appeal Judge you have to look into cases where the defendant feels the law was applied correctly.
A Supreme Court Judge position is the highest and most prestigious position in the court system. In the supreme court, there are 8 justice with you and will be responsible for understanding the law and also make decisions and guidelines of laws that are to be followed by the judges on the lower courts.
This is just a short overview of the system there are much more to understand.
The average salary of a judge ranges between $14000 to $222000 per year.
How long does it take to become a judge?
There are many steps to become a senior-level judge. The process takes years and even decades. After 7 years of schooling and high schooling, a lawyer should spend time trying cases. Candidates with 2 years of experience in trying cases are more likely to be selected.
It is more often that lawyers and attorneys earn judgeship after decades of experience.
How long does a judge serve?
The length of time a judge serves varies on the seat a judge is serving. For federal and state appointments commonly judges are given lifetime appointments. These judges serve until they decide to step down themselves.
For the elected positions judges have their serving terms from 4 to 15 years before there is a need to re-elect if they are eligible when the term ends.
How to become a federal judge?
There are multiple steps in the processes
- Individuals are nominated by the presidents of the US
- The nominee has to fill a questionnaire
- The questionnaire is reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee
Becoming a judge takes lots of hard work and determination but the rewards are worthwhile. A seat of judge comes with responsibility and prestige.
Apart from money and title, you get a reward of satisfaction being a medium of justice. Judges are the ones that the innocents are protected and the guilty are punished.
A judge makes a huge difference in the world.Above article, we hope we have solved your queries about how to become a judge?