A judge makes sure trials and hearings are handled fairly under the law. He or she presides over cases that might involve traffic offenses, civil disputes or business disputes. In a case for which a jury is selected to decide the outcome, a judge instructs that jury on applicable laws, tells it how to listen to the evidence and hears the jury's verdict. Some judges are appointed while others are elected.
There were 27,000 judges employed in the US in 2008.
Most judges come to the bench from careers as lawyers, but in 40 states non-lawyers can have limited-jurisdiction judgeships. All states provide judicial education and training that lasts about three weeks for new judges. Over 25 states require judges to take continuing education courses while they are serving on the bench.
The future looks bleak for those who aspire to be judges. This occupation will grow more slowly than the average for all occupations.
In 2009 judges earned a median annual salary of $112,830.
Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much a Judge currently earns in your city.
A Day in a Judge's Life:
On a typical day a judge's tasks might include:
- presiding over trials or hearings to make sure they are conducted fairly
- listening to attorneys present their cases
- ruling on whether evidence is admissable in court
- settling disputes between opposing attorneys
- deciding whether evidence presented during a pretrail hearing merits a trial
- instructing and directing juries
- deciding non-jury cases
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Judge, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/judges-and-hearing-officers.htm (visited May 09, 2011).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Judge, on the Internet at http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/23-1023.00 (visited May 09, 2011).