What Can You Do as a Law Student to Prepare to Become a Judge?

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We asked three attorneys what you can do as a law student to prepare to become a judge. All three attorneys chimed in with their onions. We hope you enjoy their answers.
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Every law student aspires to become a Judge! After passing their bar exam one needs to work as attorney prior to attain a Judgeship. One needs to spend a lot of time in the courtroom. In this way one can learn the niceties and also catch the attention of standing Judges. A judge is an impartial, calm and dignified person, hence one would need to try to inculcate these qualities to become one. After taking on the Judgeship, they would then need to complete the necessary training.

-Piyush Jain

There is no better preparation to be a judge as a law student than to work directly for one. That of course means taking a clerkship. You'll understand the true day to day nature of what it means to be a judge, good and bad, if you work in their chambers. You'll see how they craft opinions, how to handle problem attorneys, and how to decide matters of life and death. Truly, there is no better way to prepare to one day be a judge.

The second best way is to be in the courtroom from day 1. This means you need to be a prosecutor, or even a public defender. Understanding courtroom procedure is paramount, and judges who've actually practiced in the courtroom, in my experience, are far more effective.

-Steve Rushing
Washington, D.C. Attorney
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I am an attorney and have many colleagues who have become judges. A great first step is to intern with a judge - to get exposure and experience as an intern. The next step is to focus on work in litigation so that you find yourself in a courtroom more frequently. Oftentimes attorneys who are district attorneys or public defenders may find their way into a judgeship. There are certain judge positions that are elected, so running for the position is one option. Alternatively, many judges work their way up by starting in a smaller arena such as juvenile court or traffic court. In law school, it is wise to take moot court classes and enter moot court competitions to learn the lay of the land. Meet with judges and learn and understand the position while in law school - many professors were former judges, so this is an opportunity as well.

-Deborah Sweeney
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