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Judges are in charge of trials. They make sure that trials are fair. They resolve differences between lawyers. They read the law to decide what lawyers can and can't do. Judges often decide whether a case should go to trial. They also tell juries about the law.

Hours: Judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers do most of their work in offices, law libraries, and courtrooms. Work in these occupations presents few hazards, although sitting in the same position in the courtroom for long periods can be tiring. Most judges wear robes when they are in a courtroom. Judges typically work a standard 40-hour week, but many work more than 50 hours per week. Some judges with limited jurisdiction are employed part time and divide their time between their judicial responsibilities and other careers.

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators usually work in private offices or meeting rooms; no public record is made of the proceedings. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators often travel to a site chosen for negotiations, but some work from their home. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators usually work a standard 35- to 40-hour week. However, longer hours might be necessary when contract agreements are being prepared and negotiated.

Opportunities: Judges, magistrates, and magistrate judges held 27,000 jobs, all in State and local governments. Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers held 15,000 jobs, with 59 percent in State governments, 22 percent in the Federal Government, and 19 percent in local governments. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators held another 8,500 jobs. Approximately 29 percent worked for State and local governments. The remainder worked for labor organizations, law offices, insurance carriers, and other private companies and for organizations that specialize in providing dispute resolution services.

Pay: Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates had median annual earnings of $101,690 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $53,920 and $135,010. The top 10 percent earned more than $145,600, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $29,540. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates in May 2006 were $117,760 in State government and $74,630 in local government. Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers earned a median of $72,600, and arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators earned a median of $49,490.

In the Federal court system, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court earned $212,100 in 2006, and the Associate Justices earned $203,000.

Training: A bachelor's degree and work experience usually constitute the minimum requirements for judges and magistrates, but most workers have law degrees, and some are elected. Training requirements for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators vary.

Citation: Suggested citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition , Judges, Magistrates, and Other Judicial Workers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos272.htm (visited July 22, 2009 ).

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