How to Become a Judge


A judge is given the power to administer legal proceedings and ensures that all legal rights are observed during this process. This is a position that comes with the mandate to preside over trials and hearings before making a ruling. They are in essence keepers of justice and determine whether or not a person is guilty or innocent in non-jury trials. They also make rulings on compensation and liability in civil cases.

Educational Processes of Becoming a Judge

If your desire is to hold such a position one day, here are the educational steps you need to follow:

  • Earn a Bachelors Degree
  • Pass the LSAT
  • Attend Law School
  • Earn a Juris Doctor Degree
  • Pass the Bar Exam
  • Practice Law
  • Obtain Judgeship

As you can see this is quite a detailed process. To begin with, you will need to attend undergraduate school in order to obtain your bachelor’s degree. There are no specifications as to what you should study at this level though most people will study a subject that will help them along their law career. Recommended areas of study in undergrad level include: history, political science, economics and business. After you have attained your degree, you will need to sit for the Law School Admission Test simply referred to as LSAT. You need to ace this test and the results you attain determine the law school you attend. Prestigious law schools have a cut-off LSAT score for admission. However, there are many law schools you can attend. Law school takes up about 3-4 years depending on whether you study part-time or full-time. It is always recommended that you complete your internship while still in law school as this makes it easier for you to network and find employment after you are done with your studies.

Upon completion of your study, you earn a Juris Doctor degree. It is important to note that this degree does not allow you to practice so you will have to go by the Bar Exam in the state that you want to practice law. You cannot become a judge unless you first become a lawyer. Practicing law puts you in a position to apply for a judgeship.

Obtaining Judgeship

You will need political support for this high honor. Lawyers apply for the position by submitting themselves for recommendation from politicians or a commission for judicial nomination. It therefore requires that you have a strong track record and good experience as a lawyer. Some judges are given life terms while others get renewable or fixed terms in office. Regardless of the terms you get you will still need to go for further training. Judges are expected to attend a number of training programs as this enables them to stay informed on all laws due to their ever changing nature.

How to Become a Magistrate Judge

The process to becoming a magistrate judge is slightly different. This is because Magistrate judges are appointed by federal district judges via a majority vote. Their education process is however still the same.

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January 11, 2013 by

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