What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

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flem
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What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby flem » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:44 pm

Work as a DA? Be a baller in private practice?

I'm curious.

Bobby Jones
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby Bobby Jones » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:49 pm

Depends on the kind of judge. COA? Trial? Magistrate? Federal? State?

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:49 pm

flem wrote:Work as a DA? Be a baller in private practice?

I'm curious.


It depends on what kind of judge.

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flem
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby flem » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:54 pm

Bobby Jones wrote:Depends on the kind of judge. COA? Trial? Magistrate? Federal? State?


Sorry, should have been more clear. I'm not sure, but not necessarilly anything that is appointed. (or, are they all appointed? I have no idea)

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20130312
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby 20130312 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:55 pm

flem wrote:
Bobby Jones wrote:Depends on the kind of judge. COA? Trial? Magistrate? Federal? State?


Sorry, should have been more clear. I'm not sure, but not necessarilly anything that is appointed. (or, are they all appointed? I have no idea)


Some are elected, some are appointed.

Anonymous User
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:07 pm

AIII District: Be politically connected and apply when the appropriate party is in office. These are normally appointed straight from practice (both private and government). Occasionally they come from the state courts, but not nearly as often as you'd think.

AIII Circuit: See above. And be a professor, USDC judge, a state SC judge or bigwig government lawyer (e.g., USA, state SG, state AG).

Federal magistrate: Apply with an impressive resume. Federal magistrates do so much criminal work these days that exposure to that helps.

Federal bankruptcy: See magistrate, but instead of criminal experience, have bankruptcy experience.

State trial: This will depend dramatically by state. In Texas, for example, the answer is to be a Republican, contribute to the local party organization, and wait your turn to be the candidate in the next election. In states where these are appointed, the answer generally is to do something that will ingratiate you to the governor (i.e., state OLC, some AG offices, etc.).

State Supreme Court: Same as above, but to a greater degree.

SPE155
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby SPE155 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:AIII District: Be politically connected and apply when the appropriate party is in office. These are normally appointed straight from practice (both private and government). Occasionally they come from the state courts, but not nearly as often as you'd think.

AIII Circuit: See above. And be a professor, USDC judge, a state SC judge or bigwig government lawyer (e.g., USA, state SG, state AG).

Federal magistrate: Apply with an impressive resume. Federal magistrates do so much criminal work these days that exposure to that helps.

Federal bankruptcy: See magistrate, but instead of criminal experience, have bankruptcy experience.

State trial: This will depend dramatically by state. In Texas, for example, the answer is to be a Republican, contribute to the local party organization, and wait your turn to be the candidate in the next election. In states where these are appointed, the answer generally is to do something that will ingratiate you to the governor (i.e., state OLC, some AG offices, etc.).

State Supreme Court: Same as above, but to a greater degree.



Overall this is it. However, some people just fall into it to some degree. One federal judge I know explains that a lot of times you just get lucky by who you happen to know or worked with. He'll also tell you that if you are qualified to do it, you better love it because you can make 10x more money by staying in private practice.

chiwachiwa
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby chiwachiwa » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:29 pm

http://judicialnominations.org/pending-nominees
Click the announcement under each one, it gives a brief bio.

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flem
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby flem » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:00 am

Thanks for the info everyone, I appreciate it

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ph14
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby ph14 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:02 am

Most of the state trial judges in my area come from the local district attorney's office.

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leobowski
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby leobowski » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:54 pm

DA is a good route generally. Public defenders are very rarely judges.

03121202698008
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:56 pm

For federal district, its the state party that really has the power even though the President appoints. So, being politically connected in your state party helps a lot. You see a lot of prior DAs (elected not ADAs), US Attys, and to some small extent prior BigLaw/in-house lawyers. Some apply to be magistrates (hired by panel of district judges) before eventually being appointed to district.

Very very few defense or PI lawyers.

cjw55
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby cjw55 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:05 am

As someone with prior Hill experience that provided lots of exposure to fed noms, I'd have to say it really does vary. However, there are common themes to most AIII noms. Most AIII noms have clerked AND prosecuted, at either the state or federal level. In fact, experience prosecuting is probably the most common factor among such noms. How one is regarded by/connected to the local chapters of the ABA is also quite important, so most judges normally have some type of participation/leadership in local bar organizations. Finally, politics. Being connected to or held in high regard by home state senators and their staff is probably the most overlooked variable. Lots of superb lawyers have been clerks and prosecutors, but the name of the game is who you know and who you get to know.

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Tom Joad
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:31 am

The best guide I could find (LinkRemoved)

GS15
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby GS15 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:47 am

flem wrote:Work as a DA? Be a baller in private practice?

I'm curious.



If you work for the feds you can probably get an administrative law judge position for social security administration or another agency. Not a bad gig really.

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flem
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby flem » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:24 am

Tom Joad wrote:The best guide I could find (LinkRemoved)


This was incredibly informative. Thanks so much!

Anonymous User
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:35 pm

AIII District: Be politically connected and apply when the appropriate party is in office. These are normally appointed straight from practice (both private and government). Occasionally they come from the state courts, but not nearly as often as you'd think.



I think your second point about state court -> federal really varies by state. I know that a few judges on the D.Md. were appellate level judges in MD's state courts before switching to federal. I recall hearing somewhere that a state's senators have significant input on who gets appointed as a federal judge in their state, which would also support it varying by state.

Anonymous User
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Re: What's the natural progression route to become a judge?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:53 pm

I recall hearing somewhere that a state's senators have significant input on who gets appointed as a federal judge in their state, which would also support it varying by state.


But wouldn't this cut against state judges being promoted? The way to ingratiate yourself with a particular state party organization is to either give a bunch of money or work/volunteer for the organization. And judges generally don't make enough for the former and aren't permitted to do the latter.

Anyway, not saying state judges can't make the jump. Just that based on my experience in three districts (two in a big market, one in a secondary market), the former state judges were in the distinct minority compared to former AUSAs and biglaw partners.




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