Unfortunately, you’ve had to learn the hard way that when the boss asks you if he or she is being fair in giving you a written warning and then says, “be honest,” honesty is in fact the last thing your boss is after. As a result of your inability to decipher a rhetorical question, you are now sans employment. But fear not however because help is at hand. Even though getting a reference from your old boss will be like trying to extract blood from the most anaemic of stones, you may want to consider changing career. In that respect, have you ever thought of becoming a High Court Judge?
If prancing about in a wig and breeches is your kind of thing, becoming a High Court Judge may be just the career change you’ve been looking for.
1. Get a degree
The first step you’ll need to take on your journey to the bench is to get yourself a decent degree by attending a top notch university. When we say top notch however, we’re referring to Oxford, Cambridge or one of the decent red bricks like Durham. Graduates from Buckingham New University – a place that lets anyone in that can recite the alphabet in one go, should maybe consider a career in customer service.
2. Work Hard
Your performance at university will play a huge role in whether or not you eventually succeed. It’s important that you get the highest grades possible so make sure you complete all your assignments on time, study adequately for exams and attend all the lectures. Try as well to get some real world legal expertise via an internship – not by breaking the law!
3. Get into law school
It takes a good few years to become a High Court Judge so you’d do well to progress to law school as soon as possible rather than take a full year out to do drugs on a Thai beach every time there’s a full moon.
4. Finish law school
Law schools mainly offer a 3 year program. During year 1 you can expect to learn the fundamentals of law eg. Thou shalt not steal, or thou shalt not commit adultery by coveting thy neighbour’s ass etc. Over the next couple of years you’ll be offered the chance to study specialised courses eg. Family Law and Tax Law (sorry ladies but there’s no opportunity to study Jude Law in any particular detail).
5. Pass the bar exam
You may think that getting into bars is relatively easy as you’ve been doing it since the age of 14, but a legal bar requires slightly more effort than a forged bus pass and wispy facial hair. The bar exam is a test designed to ascertain whether you’ve got what it takes to practice law for real. It is advisable to take the bar exam as soon as possible after law school so you don’t forget everything you’ve learned.
6. Work as a lawyer
There are various fields a lawyer can specialise in eg. Corporate Law, Immigration Law, Tax Law, Environmental Law, Civil Rights Law, Intellectual Property Law etc. It’s best to choose a field that you’re enthusiastic about as there’s nothing more disconcerting for a client facing trial for armed robbery than having your lawyer doze off in front of you at the precise moment you start to protest your innocence.
7. Apply to be a Judge
A lot of barristers and solicitors initially apply to be part-time judges in order to gain some experience. Part-time judges have the same responsibilities as full time judges so don’t think you’ll ever get an easy ride should you happen to end up in the dock facing a part-time judge – it’s a reference to the amount of time they sit in court, not the length of sentence they’re likely to give you.
8. Become a full-time Judge
Before you go full time as a judge, you’ll need to be appointed by the Judicial Appointments Commission which is an independent body that recommends candidates for judicial office. When appointed, your role will be to ensure that a tribunal or court works together as a team and the hearings are fair and proper. During a case you’ll need to make sure the questions asked of participants are appropriate and that all the issues get covered. After the case you’ll need to make sure that any decision is supported with evidence (yes – you will get to bang the gavel occasionally and yell “ORDER IN COURT!” from time to time as well).
9. Become a High Court Judge
High Court Judges, like other senior members of the judiciary are appointed by the Queen on advice of the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor. Upon appointment as a high court judge you will automatically be knighted as a Knight Batchelor and in the case of female judges you’ll be made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. If this doesn’t sound impressive enough, when you’re in court people will have to refer to you as My Lord or Your Lordship if you’re a man and My Lady or Your Ladyship if you’re a woman.