Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

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Also known as:
Administrative Court Justice, Circuit Court Judge, County Court Judge, Criminal Court Judge, District Court Judge, Jurist, Justice, Probate Judge, Trial Court Judge, Tribal Judge

ABOUT JUDGE, MAGISTRATE JUDGE, OR MAGISTRATE CAREERS
Video transcript

One of the foundations of our country is our judicial system. Judges and magistrates are charged with making sure the system operates in accordance with the law. Most of us think of the judge as the person who keeps order in a courtroom by occasionally banging a gavel.

But judges play a far more important role. In overseeing legal proceedings, they act like referees, ensuring that the rules are followed. They also issue decisions and hand down sentences. Depending on their position, judges and magistrates might specialize in a particular area, such as family, civil or criminal law.

Sometimes called justices of the peace, magistrates can perform wedding ceremonies, and handle cases dealing with traffic violations, misdemeanors, small claims cases, and pre-trial hearings. They generally have at least a bachelor's degree. Judges are appointed or elected, and almost always have law degrees, and experience in the kind of courtroom they will oversee.

Without judges and magistrates, we would probably lose one of our most cherished rights - the right to a fair trial.

SNAPSHOT
Arbitrate, advise, adjudicate, or administer justice in a court of law. May sentence defendant in criminal cases according to government statutes or sentencing guidelines. May determine liability of defendant in civil cases. May perform wedding ceremonies.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
MED
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Award compensation for damages to litigants in civil cases in relation to findings by juries or by the court.

Impose restrictions upon parties in civil cases until trials can be held.

Sentence defendants in criminal cases, on conviction by jury, according to applicable government statutes.

Instruct juries on applicable laws, direct juries to deduce the facts from the evidence presented, and hear their verdicts.

Preside over hearings and listen to allegations made by plaintiffs to determine whether the evidence supports the charges.

Write decisions on cases.

Interpret and enforce rules of procedure or establish new rules in situations where there are no procedures already established by law.

Research legal issues and write opinions on the issues.

Issue arrest warrants.

Advise attorneys, juries, litigants, and court personnel regarding conduct, issues, and proceedings.

Settle disputes between opposing attorneys.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
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.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
TOP SKILLS
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.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.