Get an Undergraduate Degree
You need an undergraduate degree before you can qualify to get into law school. What you major in doesn’t matter much to law schools, so we recommend taking a path about which you are passionate. On the other hand, law schools do care about your grade-point average or GPA. If you graduate with a GPA of at least 3.00-3.50, you’ll increase the likelihood of getting into your preferred law school.
Pass the LSAT
To get into most law schools, you need to pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The law school you want to attend will help you identify how high you need to score on the LSAT. The average score among LSAT takers is 150. But to get into a top-10 law school, you need a score of at least 165, and for a top-50 law school, you’ll need a score of at least 155.
Your LSAT score and your GPA are the primary factors upon which law schools depend to determine whether they’ll grant you admission to their program. That said, some schools have begun accepting Graduate Record Examinations, or GREs, in place of LSAT scores.
Get a JD
Not every type of judgeship requires that you get a law degree and become a lawyer. But if you want to qualify to become a judge in a higher court, you must attend an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school and get a Juris Doctor (JD) degree.
A full-time JD degree program takes three years to complete. A part-time program can take four years, and there are also accelerated programs that take two years.
In law school, you’ll learn about torts, contracts, civil procedure, criminal law, ethics, and everything else you need to practice law. You can also pick up specialized courses in family law, tax law, or other aspects of the law that interest you.
Pass a Bar Exam
After graduating from law school with your JD, the next step is to take the bar exam. You will write the bar exam in the state where you intend to practice and hope to become a judge. After passing the bar exam in a particular state, you officially become an attorney who is licensed to practice within that state.
Practice as an Attorney
Not every type of judgeship requires that you have experience as an attorney. But it helps to have experience. You can practice as an attorney in a law firm, on your own, or representing the government as a public prosecutor.
The amount of experience required to qualify for a judgeship depends on the state and the type of judgeship. In most cases, however, you need to have an impressive history of legal practice before you qualify for a judgeship nomination.
Obtain a Judgeship
You become a judge by being appointed or elected. To be eligible for appointment or election, you have to possess the minimum requirements for the said judgeship in that state.
You apply for a judgeship by submitting your name to a judicial nominating commission for consideration. Politicians also can recommend you for the position. Support from notable politicians goes a long way in upping your chances of getting an appointment.
You can also improve your chances of getting appointed or elected by canvassing or lobbying voters and politicians for the position, as long as you respect the confines of the law.
Get Appointed or Get Elected
Federal judges like Supreme Court justices, court of appeals judges, and district court judges, are nominated by the President. Nominees are then confirmed by the Senate for a life term.
In most states, attorneys can submit themselves to a nomination committee to be considered for a judgeship.
After being appointed or elected and depending on the judgeship. You may have to complete training programs or attend state-administered introductory lectures provided by the ABA, National Center for State Courts, National Judicial College, or other legal organizations.
You may also be required to complete ongoing education courses throughout your career as a judge. This requirement is to ensure you stay updated on changes to the law.
Key Skills Required for Judges
Judges perform a variety of functions. Having the following skills will make you a prime candidate for a judgeship and equip you to excel at the job:
Judgment and Decision Making
Complex Problem Solving
Speaking and Writing
Do you agree with the process? Explain.
Yes I agree. It takes a long process to become a judge, but the rewards make it worthwhile. A simple reward is that you will have a stable salary. As a lawyer, you’re usually dependent on gaining new clients to pay your bills, but judges receive a salary that is more than enough to live on and then some. In addition to the salary, you will also have the ability to set your own schedule and have more regular work hours. Being a judge also comes with the title and the prestige of being an authority figure. The process to becoming a judge is a long, difficult journey that requires a lot of studying and hard work. However, through patience and diligence two qualities that make an excellent judge it is achievable.
Fastest Way to Become a Judge
To speed up your career journey to becoming a judge, you can shave off some time by proceeding with the following steps:
Speed up your time in law school by opting for an accelerated JD program. The program takes only two years instead of three, so you shave off an entire year.
You can also reduce the time you spend on an undergraduate degree by opting for a 3+3 JD program. Also called a B.A.-to-J.D. program, participating in this means that during your fourth undergraduate year, you can complete your first year of law-school courses. Getting this head start enables you to complete undergrad studies and law school in six years instead of seven.
After graduating from law school and being called to the bar, we recommend that you acquire as much legal experience as you can and as fast as you can. You can practice law as a self-employed lawyer, under a law firm, or as a public prosecutor. The more law experience you have, the more judgeship opportunities are available to you.
With the right political support, you can get nominated or elected for a judgeship in less time than most. Rub shoulders with the right politicians, who can nominate you for a judgeship. Alternatively, participate in community affairs to garner the support of the people within the jurisdiction where you want to be a judge.
The sooner you start garnering political support, the sooner you may reach your goal.
Clerking for a Judge
After finishing law school and passing the bar, get a few years of experience under your belt, ideally in the judicial branch as a clerk. A clerk conducts legal research and drafts opinions for the judge, among other assistant duties