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Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

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Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates Overview

Judges, magistrate judges and magistrates have minimum requirements of a bachelor’s degree and some work experience, and many even have law degrees. Judges, magistrates and magistrate judges can also be elected. Although growth may be slower than average, employment in these fields may vary and may be dependent on the specialty. The positions of judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates are competitive because of the prestige affiliated with serving on the bench.

Nature of the Work for Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

The work of judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates involves the application of the law and overseeing the court’s legal process. Cases may vary from minor traffic offenses to major legal disputes. The judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates must oversee and ensure that trials and hearings are conducted with fairness while at the same time protecting the rights of the people involved.

The judges, magistrate judges and magistrates main responsibility is to preside over trials and hearings and may often have to settle disputes between attorneys. Ensuring that rules are followed as well as interpreting difficult laws or unusual circumstances are also the duties of the judges, magistrate judges and magistrates.

Pretrial hearings, listening to evidence to determine a if a trial is necessary as well as deciding on jail time or release of the party awaiting a trial are also responsibilities of the judges, magistrate judges and magistrates.

Instructing the jury on the guidelines involved of the laws, showing them how to come to a verdict based on the evidence presented and to decide on a guilty or innocent verdict are also the duty of the judge, magistrate judge and magistrate. They can also decide cases where a jury is not involved. In criminal cases, the judge, magistrate judge or magistrate will determine the case’s outcome and impose a sentence, in civil cases, there is usually a monetary award or compensation to the party winning the lawsuit.

Other responsibilities of the judge, magistrate judge and magistrate are reading documents involving motions and pleadings. handling legal research and overseeing the court’s administration and legal staff.

The judge, magistrate judge, and magistrate may have various duties which are dependent on their power and jurisdiction. Federal and State Court judges have jurisdiction over all cases in their system from felonies to civil cases. There are not many Federal and State appellate court judges but they can overrule decisions made by administrative or trial court judges.

The appellate court judge can overrule legal errors made in a case but usually don’t have any contact with the litigants. Their decisions are usually as a result of the records of the court or from a lawyer’s oral and written argument.

Magistrates usually hear only one type of case and these types of cases range from misdemeanors to traffic violations. Another type of judge is the administrative law judge who is usually employed by a government agency and makes decisions ranging from Social Security and Workers Compensation eligibility to employment discrimination.

The work environment of the judge, magistrate, and magistrate judge is usually in offices and courtrooms. Although sitting for long periods may be tiring, there are very few safety hazards involved in these occupations. The hours that judges, magistrates and magistrate judges generally work are standard 40-hour weeks, although occasionally some may work 50-hour weeks. Those judges, magistrate judges, or magistrates with limited jurisdiction may work part-time and often have other careers.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

Recommended Education Level

Bachelor’s degrees and work experience are the minimum requirements for judges, magistrate judges and magistrates although most have attended law school and are lawyers. Some states will allow a non-lawyer to hold a limited-jurisdiction judgeship.

Judges, magistrates and magistrate judges receive training and an orientation from organizations like the American Bar Association or The Federal Judicial Center. General education and continuing education classes often range from a few days to about 3 weeks and are required to be taken by judges, magistrate judges and magistrates serving on the bench.

Judges and magistrates are always appointed or elected and most likely involves political support. Federal judges are appointed by district judges and usually have life time tenure. Federal magistrate judges serve for 8 years and are appointed by district judges while part-time judges serve for 4 years. Some state judges can be appointed, but State elections decide the remainder. The length of terms range from 4 to 6 years to as long as 14 years for trial court judges. The screening process for judges involves judicial nominating commissions who are members of the bar and public.

Top 10 Most Popular Pre-Law Studies Schools

1. Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan)
2. Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
3. Campbell University (Buies Creek, North Carolina)
4. Carl Albert State College (Poteau, Oklahoma)
5. Utah State University (Logan, Utah)
6. American Samoa Community College (Pago Pago, American Samoa)
7. Holmes Community College (Goodman, Mississippi)
8. University of Louisiana, Lafayette (Lafayette, Louisiana)
9. Peirce College (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
10. University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit, Michigan)

See All Pre-Law Studies Schools

Employment and Job Outlook for Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

Number of People in Profession

26,350

Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average (increase 7 - 13%).

Judges, magistrates, and magistrate judges hold many jobs in State and local governments. Although employment is expected to grow slower than average, the growth does vary according to the specialty. Because of the prestige of serving on the bench, judges, magistrates and magistrate judges will most likely encounter competition for jobs in the future. Due to budgetary pressures in government, the hiring of judges in the future will be slower than average, especially in the Federal Courts. Demand for judges, magistrate judges and magistrates will grow, however, as caseloads grow. Another demand for more judges will be as a result of a demographic shift in the population. The migration of immigrants into the United States, the reform of guardianship policies and practices, and the problems of elder abuse will place a demand for more judges, magistrates and magistrate judges.

The prospects for jobs as judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates will continue as the prestige associated with these careers grow. Some candidates will choose to work in the private sector, where the pay may be much higher. The turnover is low amongst judges, magistrates and magistrate judges who will usually stay until retirement age. New openings can occur when judges are promoted to a higher office.

Earnings and Salary for Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates earn median annual wages of $112,830. The middle 50 percent earn between $56,390 and $142,970 while the lowest 10 percent earn $33,130.

Annual Salary for Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

On average, Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates earn $112,830 per year.

10% 25% 75% 90% $33,130/yr $56,390/yr $142,970/yr $166,400/yr

Hourly Wage for Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

On average, Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates earn $54.24 per hour.

10% 25% 75% 90% $15.93 $27.11 $68.74 $80.00

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook