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Jobs Outlook: Judges, Magistrates, and Other Judicial Workers




Employment of judges and magistrates is expected to grow more slowly than the average through 2012. Budgetary pressures at all levels of government will hold down the hiring of judges, despite rising caseloads, particularly in Federal courts. Most job openings will arise as judges retire. However, additional openings occur when new judgeships positions are authorized by law or when judges are elevated to a higher judicial office.

Public concerns about crime and safety, as well as a public increasingly willing to go to court to settle disputes, should spur demand for judges. Not only has the quantity of a judge’s work increased, but many cases have become more complex because of developments in information technology, medical science, e-commerce, and globalization. The prestige associated with serving on the bench should ensure competition for judge and magistrate positions. However, a growing number of judges and candidates for judgeships are choosing to forgo the bench and work in the private sector, where pay is significantly higher. This movement may lessen the competition somewhat. Becoming a judge also is often difficult because, not only must judicial candidates compete with other qualified people, but also, they frequently must also gain political support in order to be elected or appointed, and getting that support can be expensive.

Employment of arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators is expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. Many individuals and businesses try to avoid litigation, which can involve lengthy delays, high costs, unwanted publicity, and ill will. Arbitration and other alternatives to litigation usually are faster, less expensive, and more conclusive, spurring demand for the services of arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators. Administrative law judges are expected to experience little to no change in employment, due to a slowing of growth in the Federal sector.