Judges oversee trials and hearings in which they have to make decisions on admissible evidence, determine which questions and arguments are allowed, and govern the ruling. In courts with multiple judges, the majority ruling of all the judges in attendance decides the outcome.
Not all of a judge’s work takes place in the courtroom. Outside the courtroom, judges work in chambers to research laws and supervise the courtroom staff and law clerks. In addition, their duty includes making case decisions, issuing opinions, and discussing cases with attorneys to help facilitate settlements in lawsuits.
Depending on the type of judge you are, your experience, and factors like education and certifications, the median annual salary of judges can range from about $35,000 to $195,000 annually.
Usually, the requirements for a judge include a law degree, passing a competitive exam with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and completing the proper training.
The Signs You Could Make A Great Judge
If you already have a legal background and are wondering if you could make a great judge, these are some of the signs that would show you have the skills and competencies to undertake the task on hand.
1. Judicial Personality
Being a judge is more than just applying the law; you need to understand how your decisions affect the people in your courtroom. Moreover, during each trial, you will deal with different counsel, witnesses, jurors, and the accused, requiring your willingness to calmly listen as you take in what all sides have to say.
Therefore, a judicial personality means that you have and demonstrate qualities that include open-mindedness, patience, compassion, punctuality, tact, firmness, common sense, and understanding.
If you can handle personal stress and stay patient even when provoked while dealing with others unbiasedly, with tolerance and cultural awareness, you have most of the attributes required to make a good judge.
2. Ethics and Moral Courage
Personal or professional ethics play a huge role in a career as a judge. However, if you steadfastly stand to these codes, it is easier to meet the standards required and the code needed in specific situations.
During court cases, judges sometimes require assistance from counsel, something they need to acknowledge during or after the trial. Sometimes someone might draw the judge’s attention to an error made, even by the judge. Therefore, humility is another attribute that shows you could make a great judge.
4. Applying the Law With Courage and Integrity
As a judge, you cannot follow what society dictates but what you know is legally correct, requiring legal courage. In addition, you cannot allow external factors like race, gender, wealth, identity, or political status to influence you, so you require integrity.
5. Intelligence and a Love for Learning
If you have worked as a legal professional, you will know how important it is to have a love of learning. Your experience and education are both a sign that you can take on the duties of a judge. Also, this type of legal work requires continued education to keep up with legal developments and new ideas. Therefore, motivation to keep learning is an excellent sign that you could have a career as a judge.
Suppose you can also apply legal rules, analyze the procedures to different facts and circumstances, and have quick perception and comprehension. Then you have what is required to understand the concepts and ideas behind every case.
6. Excellent Communication Skills
Both vital attributes required by judges are listening and the ability to express your thoughts clearly and correctly, orally and in writing. Of course, you don’t need to be a super articulate public speaker. Still, the ability to communicate your position vocally and in writing is a positive sign, not just for the courtroom but in other areas of your community.
7. You Have Great Physical and Mental Health
Courtroom duties are vigorous, requiring strong nerves and tolerance to pressure. If you have excellent physical and mental health, it is a good sign that you can offer an extended service with a perfect attendance record to your duties in the court system.
8. Self Awareness Skills
Having a positive reputation in your professional and residential community is required in all legal fields. However, suppose you have the skills of self-awareness and impartiality that allow you to make decisions on cases that you would otherwise find distasteful. Then you have an excellent character to take on judicial duties.
9. Sense of Humor and Perspective
Distinguishing and prioritizing essential issues and those not worth wasting time shows that you have the right attitude required in a courtroom during a difficult trial. In addition, if you have a sense of humor and know when it’s the right time to use it, you know that a judge’s duty includes keeping the mood in a court light and the proceedings efficient.
Judges are an important part of the legal system and work hard to ensure that trials and hearings are conducted fairly. With their years of legal experience, judges have a deep understanding of the law and what is admissible in court. They also play a critical role in settling lawsuits outside of trial.