How to be a federal judge

June 2, 2011
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Some people learn by just jumping in and doing; others prefer to do their homework to prepare for a new experience. For these people, if becoming a federal judge is on your career aspirations list, then take a look at “Path to the Federal Bench.”

It’s been created by several legal groups, including the American Constitution Society, National Association of Women Judges, and the National Bar Association, with the goal of educating young attorneys and law students on the Article III federal judgeship process and diversifying the bench. They want students and new attorneys to be thinking ahead and begin preparing themselves to become a federal judge if that’s something they think they’d like to do in the future.

The 34-page guide gives insight on everything from how to become nominated to the Senate vote. It advises young lawyers to keep tabs on everything they’ve ever written that’s been published and warns them that the background checks will likely find anything they are trying to hide, so make sure to pay your taxes and don’t be a criminal.

The pamphlet, as it’s described by the authors, emphasizes that there is no one way to become a federal judge and provides biographies of recent federal judges to support that point. It also lists resources for those interested in learning more about becoming a federal judge.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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