What does it take to be a Judge?
Judges are often required to have a law degree and work experience as a lawyer. Additionally, most judges must be either appointed or elected into judge positions, a procedure that often takes political support. Many judges are appointed to serve fixed renewable terms, ranging from four years to 14 years. A few judges, such as appellate court judges, are appointed for life. Judicial nominating commissions screen candidates for judgeships in many local jurisdictions and for some federal judgeships. Some judges are elected to a specific term, commonly four years.
For most jobs as a local or federal judge, a law degree is necessary. Getting a law degree usually takes seven years of full-time study after high school—four years of undergraduate study, followed by three years of law school. Law degree programs include courses such as constitutional law, contracts, property law, civil procedure, and legal writing.
Most judges get their skills through years of experience as practicing lawyers. All jurisdictions have some type of orientation for newly elected or appointed judges.
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