Virginia district court judges are elected by a majority vote of each house of the General Assembly for six-year terms. Vacancies in district courts that occur when the General Assembly is not in session are filled by district court judges in the relevant circuit. In addition to being a lawyer, there are many positions in the legal field that can call you by name. The fact that you're reading this means that you're interested in learning how to become a judge, so we've compiled everything you need to know to help prepare you for this exciting career path.
While you can earn your JD degree by meeting the law school course requirements, you have another important step to take before you can truly practice as a lawyer. Every state has a bar exam. The two-part, multi-day exam evaluates your ability to apply the law in your state and in accordance with federal laws. To learn more about your state's bar exam, use this resource.
There is no exact time to become a judge. That said, it can already be seen that it will take several years, if not decades. After high school, you can plan for a four-year degree and then three years in law school. Then, once you become a lawyer, you'll have to try the cases and you'll have at least two years of that.
Most judges arrive at their posts after decades of experience. The length of the office of judge depends on where the judge works. For example, elected offices typically last between four and 15 years. In the case of federal judges, they are appointed for life.
With the knowledge of how to become a judge at your fingertips, will you choose to follow this path? While becoming a judge isn't guaranteed, it's certainly possible if you follow the steps, perform well as a lawyer, and can maintain a strong reputation in the field. The first degree required to become a judge is a law degree from a school approved by the United States Bar Association. From there, young judges must pass the bar exam and become lawyers. However, this requirement for the lawyer to come first does not apply to all states.
In New York, Texas, Nevada and five other states, you don't have to have a law degree to become a judge. To become a judge, a person will first have to obtain a university degree. Most judges have a law degree (JD) and have practiced as lawyers. Undergraduate fields of study are not required to apply to law school.
However, many people who want to become lawyers earn a degree in a relevant subject such as criminal justice, politics, legal studies, or business.