3 years ago
Admissions Advice

How does one become a Judge

This question has gotten a lot of different answers from people previously so I’d like to hear what you guys think

@TranslucentBean3 years ago

I would first figure out what kind of judge you want to be. For example, a supreme court Justice has a very different role than that of a judge in a district-level misdemeanor case. I am no expert on this, just my thoughts.

@DebaterMAX3 years ago

Something I wish to add becoming a senate confirmed judge is incredibly difficult. This would be sub 1%. State SC varies between elections and governor appointees. But most local judges are appointed.

@DebaterMAX3 years ago

Connections for your career is probably most important in judging out of all careers.

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago[edited]

The short answer is that you need to go to law school which is a 3-year graduate degree after your 4-year degree as a minimum for your education part. (7 years education)

Then you need to pass the BAR exam and practice being a full-time attorney for a minimum of 8 years. (8 years minimum work experience) I think if you want to be for example a California Supreme Court judge, you need 12 years of experience. For a Federal Supreme Court justice, hardly anyone gets nominated to that under 45 or 50 years of age. Amy Coney Barrett was 48. And Justice Kavanaugh was 53.

One of the best ways to becoming a judge is to Clerk for a Judge. A judicial clerk is someone that is the Assistant to the Judge and often does all the grunt work and research and even does the drafts of the opinions written by judges. Being picked to be Clerk, say, to be a Supreme Court Justice is incredibly difficult. In order to secure a spot, you have to be brilliant. So, it is expected that you attend the top 3 or 4 law schools in the country and also have superior standing and grades. Most successful Clerks go to schools like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia. They also often are part of winning teams of MOOT COURT hearings at the schools where 2 opposing teams debate Supreme Court Cases in front of acting Supreme Court Justices. If you've never seen a moot court hearing, then I highly recommend that you watch the Harvard Ames Moot Court Hearing on Youtube. They have about 40 years' worth of videos. You will see Harvard Law Students acting as oralists presenting their cases in front of Justice Sotomayer, Justice Ginsberg and Justice Scalia, and Justice Roberts to name a few.

I hope my answer was helpful. Judges are some of the smartest people in the country. Therefore you have to be extremely capable and hard working. President Obama and Michelle Obama certainly could have been judges but they chose to serve in a different way.

Good luck

3 years ago

As others have said, it depends on what sort of judge you want to be. You'll start out by going to law school, passing the bar and becoming an attorney. You'll want to choose a specialty like criminal law, torts or family law. Spending some time as a public defender could be a good credential. Getting into real estate law or mergers&acquisitions is not going to work. Many lower level judges are either appointed or elected in elections where voters aren't all that informed or interested. As an attorney, you'll want to earn the respect of judges you appear before and attorneys you work with and against. Recently, we've seen that being a professor at a prestigious law school can lead to the bench.

In some places, judges are appointed by politicians, or elected in partisan elections. In that case, you'll want to choose a party and remain loyal and ideologically pure. These days, it's nearly inconceivable that, for example, a president of one party would nominate a federal judge from the other party. Your work and writings, even as far back as law school or earlier, will be scrutinized.

Something to think about: While Supreme Court justices enjoy immense fame and lifetime appointments, family and drug court judges are quietly doing some of the most important work in our society.

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