Qualifications needed to become a judge

Written by matt koble
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Qualifications needed to become a judge
Judges commonly preside over court hearings and trials. (judge 5 image by Mykola Velychko from Fotolia.com)

Becoming a judge can be a difficult task. Depending on the type of judge you wish you become, you may have all the qualifications down on paper but you'd still need to be elected. The qualifications needed may vary for specific types of judges by state but this should provide a general overview of the qualifications required to become a judge.

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Educational requirements

According to Education-Portal.com, most federal and state judgeships require the applicant to be a lawyer, meaning they need a law degree. Certain judge positions, such as non-administrative law judges and hearing officials, may not require a law degree, depending on the state. However, Education-Portal states that having one may help with the likelihood of getting such positions. First, the hopeful judge needs to obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited college before going on to law school. Law school commonly takes three years to complete; thereafter, the hopeful judge has all the educational requirements to become a judge.

Previous experience

As stated, most judgeships require you to have previously practised law. In order to become a lawyer, law school graduates must successfully complete the bar exam with a passing grade in order to be qualified to practice law. The amount and type of law experience required is largely dependent on the specific position being sought, though some positions may require up to 10 years of law experience.

Personal attributes

Judicial candidates are also evaluated based on certain personal attributes, notes ABCNY.org. Such attributes include the ability to patiently, professionally and fairly deal with lawyers, litigants and other judges. Potential judges must be able to weigh evidence and discern facts in an intellectual and objective manner. Hopefuls must also demonstrate willingness and ability to work hard and well under pressure with prompt and correct response to legal issues. Applicants must show candour and integrity while being able to demonstrate that they are not influenced by political or outside affiliations. Most importantly, a potential judge must exhibit a commitment to both public service and judicial responsibility.

Other requirements

Specific judgeships may require various other requirements. For example, judges on the United States Supreme Court must be at least 30 years old. They must also be United States citizens of at least 15 years and have been registered to vote for at least nine years directly before the selection process.

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