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How to Become a Judge

Kundan Pandey
Becoming a judge is considered to be one of the most reputed and rewarding careers in government jobs. Years of education and consistent performance in the legal field are vital for success. Here is some more information about the same.
Being a judge is not a career decision that you can take without having extensive work experience in the legal field. Therefore, initially, when you enter the law profession, your objectives must be to become a successful lawyer so that you have the requisite exposure in legal battles and courtrooms.
The process to become a judge is very long and is based upon many factors. Not only you need to have good political contacts and recommendations from senators, you must also have an impressive profile along with a brilliant track record in your practicing years, as a lawyer.

Becoming a Judge - An Overview

A career as a judge is extremely rewarding but it brings with it tremendous amount of stress and work loads. Judges are paid extremely well besides hosts of benefits from the government. The average judge salary ranges between US$210,000 to US$270,000.
Those at the peak of their career, can earn more than US$350,000. It has to be understood that being a judge is a position that demands assertiveness, frankness, firmness, integrity, patience and high professionalism. Not everyone can be a judge, as it is a very responsible and challenging position.
Besides that, many years of education and continuous learning in the same field is also very important.

Educational Requirements to Become a Judge

Students who aspire to become judges in the later years of life must focus on studying some core subjects in their undergraduate years. So what are the core subjects students should focus on during their undergraduate years?
Well, social sciences (as it deals with our society and its laws), political science (politics, democracy and country), economics (invariably important for a judge to understand economics and laws related to it), business (capitalism, liberal economy - there you go. Loads of laws, rules, acts and regulations to manage businesses) and history.
The bottom line of studying these subjects is to get exposed to a broad range of studies so that it helps students during law courses. Moreover, during their undergraduate years students must inculcate excellent reading, writing and research skills.
After completion of the undergraduate degree, students must work hard to obtain a 3 years Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree or the law degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Obtaining a law degree requires years of education. After graduating from college, students can appear for The Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
LSAT is a standardized test meant to test the competence of candidates aspiring to become lawyers. Based on LSAT score, students are awarded accredited law colleges. The better you score in LSAT, higher are the chances of landing in a reputed law school. So start preparing for LSAT right from your high school.
Further, after obtaining the JD degree, one is expected to get admission to the bar in their state jurisdiction. It is important to do so because only then one can practice as a professional lawyer. Different states have different rules regarding the bar exams.
The 'National council of Bar Examiners' conducts bar exams and it tests everything that you have learned in your law studies. To become a professional lawyer, you need crack the following 4 bar exams; Multistate Professional Responsibility Test (MPRE), Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) and Multistate Performance Test (MPT).
Besides qualifying for these four exams, candidates have to appear for another test that judges their moral and ethical values, besides a complete medical check up. Once you pass all these exams, you're granted a license to practice as a lawyer in your respective jurisdiction.

Applying for Judgeship

After working for extensive number of years (at least 5 five years minimum) as a lawyer in court rooms, one can apply for a judgeship. Lawyers applying for judgeship have to submit written application form to the judicial nominating commission (JNC) for reviewing their application.
The JNC conducts through research for analyzing the potential of the lawyers willing to become judges. Most of the time, lawyers are recommended by senators, politicians and local attorneys.
Polls are conducted by the state jurisdiction or JNC to determine opinions about the integrity, professionalism, performance and competence of the prospective judges. It takes excellent reputation, years of successful practice and good contacts to obtain a judgeship.
After having nominated for judgeship, prospective judges are trained in state sponsored judicial programs. Major legal institutions like The American Bar Association, the National Judicial College and the National Center for State Courts also actively participate in training judges.
During the training period, judges participate in court trials and they are given knowledge about the working of the judiciary.
Judges are the professionals who're entrusted with the responsibility of giving fair judgments and punishing the guilty. Since the designation of judges is extremely challenging, prospective judges must inculcate virtues of deep listening, patience and self control in themselves.
Only then, they can have a personality that is able to hear numerous trials and trifles in courtrooms. By taking the above steps, students can chalk out a well planned strategy to make a career as a judge.