The role of being the judge in a courtroom comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility. These important figures have to preside over hearings and trials, they determine the legitimacy of evidence shown, and they are in charge of monitoring the jury process. Their ability to interpret the law and apply it appropriately is crucial to their success and credibility. For one to become a judge, they must obtain a Juris Doctorate degree, attend training and must have a certification. One example of a judge who handled his responsibilities like a true professional is Judge Andrew Napolitano of New Jersey. Through his many years of experience, he is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. He lists all of the requirements that are necessary for someone to become a successful judge.
Judge Napolitano graduated from Princeton University and the University of Notre Dame Law School. He sat on the bench as a judge from 1987-1995 and presided over 150 jury trials on top of thousands of hearings, motions, and sentencings. He also taught constitutional law and jurisprudence at Delaware Law School for two years and at Seton Hall Law School for eleven years. For a law student to reach his level of success, they must complete the following steps:
Obtain an Undergraduate Degree
After completing a 4-year curriculum that includes courses in government, foreign language, history, and public speaking, a student can receive their undergraduate degree and move on to the next steps.
Obtain a Juris Doctorate degree from a Law School
Even though it is not required to have this degree in some states, most successful judges do have it on their resume. Attend a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association and take the required courses to receive such a degree.
Pass Bar Exam
A bar examination is required in all 50 states, and every aspiring judge must pass it. In most states, you must take the Multistate Bar Examination which is a 6 hour long test with 200 questions.
Become Elected to the Court
Whether elected or appointed, experienced lawyers have to be chosen for judgeships. Once selected by government agencies, they must take a comprehensive examination given by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Complete Judgeship Training
Judges must do training programs in any state they wish to practice in. Once training is completed, they still are required to continue on their education by enrolling in classes throughout their careers.
As you can see from the requirements listed above, it takes years and years of education and experience to reach the level of success of Judge Napolitano. He believes that passion is the biggest drive to make it through all of those obstacles and finally make it as a judge presiding in a courtroom. But his passion and dedication to practice law and learn more about the U.S. government did not stop there. Napolitano lectures nationally about the U.S. Constitution and basic human freedoms. He is also the author of nine books on the Constitution and two of those books became New York Times Best Sellers. He is often referred to as the “champion of personal freedom” and continuously shares his thoughts and opinions on political matters as a News Analyst for Fox News.
Judge Andrew Napolitano is just one example of the many nationally recognized judges who dedicate their life to studying and practicing law. Although very time consuming and at times emotionally draining, it is possible for students to reach their full potential and one day preside as a judge. As Napolitano agrees, the profession is worth the pain.