Judges uphold the law by analysing and interpreting all the evidence presented in a court of law. Along with the jury, a judge ensures that justice is served by dictating a fair verdict and determining a sentence relevant to the crime. A judge can also act as a referee in litigation, render a decision in legal quandaries and rule on questions of the law.
Nights and weekends occasionally
As a judge, you can expect to work a 40-hour week during regular business hours. But, depending on what type of law you specialise in, you could anticipate an entirely different schedule.
Across the country, there are many jurisdictions that still maintain night courts which concentrate on preliminary matters of criminal proceedings, such as arraignments and bail hearings, and typically take place from 6pm to midnight. It is rare for the justice system to take place on a weekend unless otherwise specified.
You will primarily work in a courtroom setting or in an office. There are also times whereby a judge will sit in a room to mediate arguments, from divorce cases to slip-and-fall accidents.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
DVM / VMD degree
To become a judge, you will need to possess both an undergraduate degree and a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. Your bachelor’s degree should focus on history, economics, business or political science, which takes four years. After this, you will need to enroll in a law school that is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). This takes about three years to complete.
Once you have earned your JD, it is mandatory to apply for admission to the bar and pass a bar exam. Based on your jurisdiction, you may also be required to apply for licensing to practise law.
For judges, they will be offered training by the ABA, the Federal Judicial Center, the National Judicial College and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).
The aim for most judges is to become Chief Justice, the highest-ranking member of a court or tribunal. However, there are other career opportunities for judges, such as politician, author or professor. For the most part, a judge will preside over the same post for 10, 20 or 30 years.