Begin by taking an interest in the law and court procedures in middle and high school. At school join a mock trial team, debate team, run for school office, become a peer leader, and take part in other clubs and activities to develop leadership, communication, and ethical skills. Visit the Supreme Court to see in action the work done by an attorney or justice.
Look for summer or after-school opportunities involving the law. Local politicians, magistrate offices, and non-partisan groups may be looking for help. Internship positions at this level will allow interested individuals to better understand the law and give them an insider's point of view of how the judicial system works.
Before becoming a judge, you will probably have to start as an attorney. Though the Constitution does not require that a justice of the court be a lawyer beforehand, all justices started out as lawyers.
Get a bachelor's degree from a respected institute and maintain a strong GPA to get into one of the top law schools. The LSAT or Law School Admissions Test must also be taken and a high grade will help determine your future in the law and what type of school will consider your application. When applying for law schools look for those that are highly respected as they will offer more opportunities after graduation. Columbia University School of Law and Harvard Law School are two of the top law schools in the country.
While in college, be sure to stay involved in politics to help later secure a position on the Supreme Court. Become a recognized face to your professors; they could become references later on in your law career and may even have connections that can help you get a job as an attorney. Leadership and communication skills are vital to your career. Participate in the law journal and take part in moot court to understand all the processes that take place in the courtroom.
Those in law school can improve their resume and get access to prestigious lawyers, judges, politicians, and other important figures in the court with internship or fellowship opportunities at local, federal, and state levels. While a junior or senior in an undergraduate program or while in law school, you can learn more about the Supreme Court and the law by applying to be an intern. The Judicial Internship program is a highly competitive program offered by the Supreme Court and several other internship opportunities at the court exist.
Look at the career biographies of current court justices for ideas and inspiration in your job search as an attorney. Becoming a law clerk at the federal level after graduation can aid you in gaining recognition as an attorney and networking to become a judge. In your career as an attorney, work to stay involved in unions and political groups. Judges have also increased their standing by serving as state governors, serving on Congress, and becoming federal judges.
To become a Supreme Court justice you will have to secure a presidential nominee, it is rare for an attorney to get this far. Therefore, to increase your chances it is important to remain scandal free and demonstrate strong morals and ethics throughout your lifetime. The current president will be looking for those who share similar beliefs on key issues such as abortion. Keeping strong ties to your political party can help the president become aware of your record, as can campaigning and supporting the presidential nominee of your choice.
Once a nomination is made, a justice will also have to get the vote of the majority of the Senate. Expect to be grilled about your standing on law issues and your record as an attorney and judge. Finally, after getting your nomination approved, you can serve as a Supreme Court justice and help influence the future of the country.
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LawCrossing Fact #172: Pick out experience ranges for a more specific job search!