One of our most important rights —the right to a fair trial— rests on the shoulders of judges and hearing officers. They conduct pretrial hearings, resolve administrative disputes, facilitate negotiations between opposing parties, and issue legal decisions. Judges hear cases that range from traffic offenses to the rights of large corporations. Before a trial, they often review documents, research legal issues, and listen to arguments to determine if a trial is warranted. Depending on the case, judges either instruct jurors on the law and guide them in considering evidence, or decide the case directly, determining whether a sentence or penalty is justified. Critically, they ensure fair proceedings so that the legal rights of all involved parties are protected. Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers operate outside the courts— they work for government agencies, on issues such as determining eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits or verifying a case of employment discrimination. Judges and hearing officers work for state, local, and federal governments. Hours are full time, sometimes with evening and weekend hours, and on-call duty for emergencies. Although a few positions require only a bachelor’s degree… a law degree, license, and years of work experience as a lawyer are typically required for judges or hearing officers. Some positions are elected… others are appointed… for terms lasting from 4 years to life.
What they do:
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.
On the job, you would:
Sentence defendants in criminal cases, on conviction by jury, according to applicable government statutes.
Monitor proceedings to ensure that all applicable rules and procedures are followed.
Instruct juries on applicable laws, direct juries to deduce the facts from the evidence presented, and hear their verdicts.
Safety and Government
law and government
public safety and security
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
listen and understand what people say
read and understand what is written
Ideas and Logic
use rules to solve problems
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
People interested in this work like activities that include leading, making decisions, and business.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Information retrieval or search software
Thomson Reuters WestLaw
Electronic mail software
doctoral degree or professional degree usually needed
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.