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Details for Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates


Description

Arbitrate, advise, adjudicate, or administer justice in a court of law. May sentence defendant in criminal cases according to government statutes. May determine liability of defendant in civil cases. May issue marriage licenses and perform wedding ceremonies.

Tasks

  • Instruct juries on applicable laws, direct juries to deduce the facts from the evidence presented, and hear their verdicts.
  • Sentence defendants in criminal cases, on conviction by jury, according to applicable government statutes.
  • Rule on admissibility of evidence and methods of conducting testimony.
  • Preside over hearings and listen to allegations made by plaintiffs to determine whether the evidence supports the charges.
  • Read documents on pleadings and motions to ascertain facts and issues.
  • Interpret and enforce rules of procedure or establish new rules in situations where there are no procedures already established by law.
  • Monitor proceedings to ensure that all applicable rules and procedures are followed.
  • Advise attorneys, juries, litigants, and court personnel regarding conduct, issues, and proceedings.
  • Research legal issues and write opinions on the issues.
  • Conduct preliminary hearings to decide issues such as whether there is reasonable and probable cause to hold defendants in felony cases.
  • Write decisions on cases.
  • Award compensation for damages to litigants in civil cases in relation to findings by juries or by the court.
  • Settle disputes between opposing attorneys.
  • Supervise other judges, court officers, and the court's administrative staff.
  • Impose restrictions upon parties in civil cases until trials can be held.
  • Rule on custody and access disputes, and enforce court orders regarding custody and support of children.
  • Grant divorces and divide assets between spouses.
  • Participate in judicial tribunals to help resolve disputes.
  • Perform wedding ceremonies.

Interests

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
  • Training - Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
  • Experience - Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.

Knowledge

  • Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • Philosophy and Theology - Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Skills

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Related Careers

  • Criminal Investigators and Special Agents
  • Immigration and Customs Inspectors
  • Lawyers
  • Police Detectives
  • Political Scientists
  • Title Examiners, Abstractors, and Searchers
Wages for this career
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