Court of Appeals Justice

Uphold or reverse the decisions of lower courts.
picture of Court of Appeals Justice

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$59,000 – $143,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Court of Appeals Justices do?

Lawsuits can be hard to kill. A Judge hands down a verdict, and the Lawyers simply file an appeal and ask for a new outcome from a new court. These cases move up the legal ladder until they reach the desk of Court of Appeals Justices. Often, the Court of Appeals Justices serve as the final stop for lawsuits of all sorts.

The Court of Appeals Justice job comes with one major perk: Once you’re appointed to the job, you hold that job for life. This bonus comes with a bit of a downside, however. As a Court of Appeals Justice, you spend the day listening to people argue, and you read thousands of pages of dense legalese.

Cases arrive in your courtroom in paper form. You read through the transcripts and decisions of the lower courts, looking for legal problems. In addition, you read through the pleadings of the Lawyers, as they outline why they’re right and the others are wrong.

Even though these documents are called “briefs,” they can take you weeks to read. Sometimes, you allow Lawyers to come and talk about their cases.

The law is complex, and often, Lawyers reference other lawsuits that have come before. Clerks help you look up these old cases, and you study them to see how they do or do not apply.

Often, you’re working with two other Court of Appeals Justices, and you all come up with a proper ruling together. One of you writes down what you’ve decided, and your ruling often becomes the new law of the land.

Should I be a Court of Appeals Justice?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Leader: You're good at taking charge, giving directions, and inspiring other people.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Appeals Court Associate Justice, Appellate Judge, Associate Justice, Court of Appeals Judge

    How to become a Court of Appeals Justice

    Most Court of Appeals Justices have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:xaajj9&chl=no+college+%2823%25%29|||bachelor%27s+%289%25%29|master%27s+%289%25%29|doctorate+%2860%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,23,60
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