General Question

squigish's avatar

Where are judges required to be lawyers?

Asked by squigish (185 points ) September 18th, 2008

I know that Federal judges are not explicitly required to have a law license, and that in Minnesota, judges are required to have a law license. What about other states?

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11 Answers

mamasu's avatar

Not all judges are required to be lawyers. Many probate judges are not.

JackAdams's avatar

I know that, in Hawaii (as one example) the state Attorney General (an elected position) is not required to be any kind of lawyer at all, and that’s always “bothered” me, that a non-lawyer could be elected to supervise an office of lawyers.

marinelife's avatar

American Idol.

I, for one, want my judges to have more than a nodding acquaintance with the law. Not requiring it is a holdover from citizen politician and lawyer days.

Harp's avatar

This is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

“Most judges have first been lawyers. Federal and State judges are generally required to be lawyers. About 40 States allow non-lawyers to hold limited jurisdiction judgeships [Justice of the Peace, Magistrate], but opportunities are better with law experience. Federal administrative law judges must be lawyers and pass a competitive examination administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Some State administrative law judges and other hearing officials are not required to be lawyers, but law degrees are preferred for most positions.”

(Here’s a description of the duties of administrative law judges [from here]: “Administrative law judges, sometimes called hearing officers or adjudicators, are employed by government agencies to make determinations for administrative agencies. These judges make decisions, for example, on a person’s eligibility for various Social Security or worker’s compensation benefits, on protection of the environment, on the enforcement of health and safety regulations, on employment discrimination, and on compliance with economic regulatory requirements.”)

gooch's avatar

Just a note of triva for you about lawyers. Louisiana has the higest population of lawyers per capita. That can not be a good thing.

JackAdams's avatar

Louisiana also has more ‘Gators, too, I understand.

And you should see those suckers run across a bayou highway! I never would have believed that something that large, could sprint!

cyndyh's avatar

The Gators or the lawyers?

JackAdams's avatar

Hold on….

I’m trying to remember…

I think they were green

kevbo's avatar

@gooch, I forgot about that. Viva Napolean!

Yeah, the requirement for attorney general in Albuquerque is that s/he must be “learned in the law” which is how our other resident crackpot tried to get on the ballot.

Judi's avatar

Heck, would you want someone who was not an expert in the law to be making decisions, instructing juries (in the law) and ruling on legal matters if YOU were in the hot seat?

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