Judges and Magistrates fall into the Enterprising Theme Code Category of the Strong Interest Inventory® Test. This assessment was first released in 1927 and has been used since then to help individuals find careers that are well-suited to their personal preferences and interests. Individuals within the Enterprising theme code category are inclined towards business-related careers which allow them to leverage a high level of expertise in particular technical areas, such as law or real estate. Enterprising individuals are usually highly social and thrive in environments where they can see an immediate and material impact of their work on the lives of others.
Judges and Magistrates oversee multiple aspects of the judicial process, which generally involve arbitrating, advising, and administering justice in courts of law. They may preside over court rooms and hear cases presented by attorneys. To prepare for these cases, they must read and review documents presented relating to the facts and issues of individual cases, and may also research related legal issues or precedents. During trials, Judges and Magistrates rule on the admissibility of certain kinds of evidence, as well as specific ways of questioning witnesses or engaging with the jury. They also manage and instruct the jury on how to go about deducing facts based on the evidence presented. These facts and the negotiation process determines the verdicts or conclusions reached. After a case is concluded, Judges and Magistrates write a formal decision on these cases. This is particularly important for cases which have no precedent or for which there are no legally-established procedures.
Judges and Magistrates also determine what cases are admitted to the court. They may conduct preliminary hearings to make the best judgment in these cases. If attorneys have a dispute between themselves, Judges and Magistrates resolve them outside of the court room. As in any other office position, Judges and Magistrates have support staffs to supervise, and may include other judges and court officers in addition to secretaries and other administrative staff.
Most of the hardware and tools that Judges and Magistrates use are common in most offices, including fax machines, printers, computers, tablets, video and teleconferencing equipment, and smartphones or PDAs. However, they may use microphones and gavels, as both are common in court rooms. In addition, many kinds of software are needed, including online databases and search software such as Thompson Reuters WestLaw and LexisNexis, as well as scheduling software and Microsoft Office Suite, including Outlook, Word, and Excel.
Judges require an in-depth knowledge and expertise with the technicalities of law and government and their functions, including legal codes themselves, as well as court procedures, government regulations, and more. They should be fluent in English and have the critical thinking and active listening skills needed to make sense of vast amounts of information in a relatively short time span. Complex reasoning skills like deductive and inductive reasoning, as well as the ability to evaluate information and make challenging decisions quickly, are necessary for Judges and Magistrates. Extensive preparation is needed for judges, with over half of them holding a Doctoral degree, specifically a Juris Doctorate (J.D.)
The rate of employment of Judges and Magistrates is expected to remain fairly stable before 2024, according to recent estimates. Judges salaries are typically average, above $125,000 nation-wide with the best-paid Judges making well over $180,000 regardless of the state. The lowest-paid Circuit Judges in the country can earn annual salaries under $55,000. The most lucrative states tend to be in the mid-Atlantic region and New England, as well as California and Florida. Some states are projected to have significant hiring increases as well, with Texas adding over 300 jobs, a 13% growth rate, projected before 2024.
Below are some employment trends for Judges and Magistrates:
- Median Judges Salary: $61.03 hourly; $126,930 annually
- Employment: 30,000 employees
- Projected growth (2014-2024): Little or no change (-1% to 1%)
- Projected job openings (2014-2024): 4,500
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org