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Are you curious about becoming a judge? This profession is sometimes fraught with politics at a national level, but the overwhelming majority of judges are respected for their professional abilities. If you want to explore this, then you need to have some idea of what’s involved.

Judges get to serve on the bench either by appointment or by winning an election. Still, this is a profession where particular qualifications and licenses are necessary to get elected or appointed.

Generally speaking, judges supervise various legal proceedings. These include court hearings and trials. They’re responsible for upholding the rights of anyone involved in the legal processes taking place in their court. Court proceedings might involve a jury, but this isn’t always the case. In the event of a bench trial without a jury, the judge is the only person responsible for ascertaining the guilt or innocence of a defendant. Judges might also ascertain both the liability and specific compensation in a civil case. Some judges are also known to teach the legal profession or even maintain their own law practice.

The time involved with becoming a judge varies, but it’s usually not a short one. You need to put in your undergraduate years before entering law school. That you also have to graduate before passing the state bar exam. You’ll also have to put in time practicing the law.

Many people need seven years just to get licensed as an attorney, although there’s not usually a minimum number of years you need to serve as a practicing lawyer before becoming a judge. Legal experience involving many trial cases helps, but it isn’t always necessary.

Whether you pursue a judgeship by election or appointment, you need to meet the minimum requirements for a specific bench role in your state. Politicians who nominate and appoint judges typically refer to a commission for potential candidates. Supporting particular politicians might increase your chances.

Some judge positions are lifetime appointments, especially at the federal level. That means you get to stay in that role until death, retirement, or in rare cases, being disbarred. Other positions have terms, especially some state and local elected positions where you would need to run again when your term is up.