Employment change. Overall employment of judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers is expected to grow 4 percent over the 2008–18 projection period, slower than the average for all occupations. Budgetary pressures at all levels of government are expected to hold down the hiring of judges despite rising caseloads, particularly in Federal courts. However, the continued need to cope with crime and settle disputes, as well as the public's willingness to go to court to settle disputes, should spur demand for judges.
Demographic shifts in the population also will spur demand for judges. For instance, the number of immigrants migrating to the United States will continue to rise, thereby increasing the demand for judges to handle the complex issues associated with immigrants. In addition, demand for judges will increase because, as the U.S. population ages, the courts are expected to reform guardianship policies and practices and develop new strategies to address elder abuse. Both the quantity and the complexity of judges' work have increased because of developments in information technology, medical science, electronic commerce, and globalization.
Employment of arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. 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. Demand also will continue to increase for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators because all jurisdictions now have some type of alternative dispute resolution program. Some jurisdictions have programs requiring disputants to meet with a mediator in certain circumstances, such as when attempting to resolve child custody issues.
Job prospects. The prestige associated with serving on the bench will ensure continued competition for judge and magistrate positions. However, a growing number of candidates are choosing to forgo the bench and work in the private sector, where pay may be significantly higher. This trend may lessen the competition somewhat. Turnover is low among judges, and most job openings will arise as they retire. Additional openings will occur when new judgeships are authorized by law or when judges are elevated to higher judicial offices.
Jobs should be available for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators, but opportunities may be limited because, as with judges, turnover is low. Once these workers have the appropriate qualifications and skills, they tend to remain in the occupation for many years. Those with certification and specialization in one or more areas of arbitration, mediation, or conciliation should have the best job opportunities.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Interpreters and Translators, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos175.htm (visited 11th August 2010)
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