Judge, Trial Court Salary
Job Description for Judge, Trial Court
Trial court judges preside over cases between prosecutors and defendants, and may also perform nuptials. This position commands respect, and a person holding this position is often referred to as “your honor."Read More...
A trial court judge will have several subordinates working with him/her in the courtroom, including a stenographer, court officers, court administrative staff, and the judge’s personal clerk. The workload will inevitably require a considerable amount of time, both in court and after hours.
There are many responsibilities to uphold, considerations to be determined, and decisions to be made within this challenging position, which comes with demanding research, considerable refereeing of attorney/prosecutor disputes, and the burden of excruciatingly difficult decision-making. The trial court judge may find himself in the unenviable position of deciding a person’s fate with the ultimate responsibility falling to his/her discretion.
Trial court judges must familiarize themselves with the case at hand, research pertinent laws, determine the validity of each side’s position, and hand down sentences to be served by defendants found guilty in the court of law. The decisions are not always popular with everyone concerned, and each case will likely disappoint either the prosecutor and their extended support team or the defendant and their team. As a result, the position does have an element of danger associated with it.
Aspiring trial court judges should attend law school, pass the bar exam, and spend several years working as an attorney; a doctorate degree may also be required. Although this job is full of challenges, tough decisions, and extreme pressure, it also has its rewards, including an impressive salary and a great deal of respect.
Judge, Trial Court Tasks
- Conduct trials, hearings, and arraignments and issue rulings and sentences that interpret and enforce law.
- Supervise subordinate staff, such as law clerks or secretarial staff.
- Advise and direct attorneys, juries, and court personnel regarding court conduct, issues, and proceedings.
- Preside at preliminary hearings and settlement conferences.
- Read documentation on pleadings and motions and provide written decisions with evidentiary and legal analysis.
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Pay by Experience Level for Judge, Trial Court
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Annually raking in $124K, the average professional in this position sees a six-figure salary within the first five years. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $126K. Average wages for folks with more than 20 years of experience come out to around $144K.