BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Have the education and training requirements for trial court judges changed over time?

From 1987 to 2004, the percentage of trial courts requiring judges to hold a law degree increased from 87% to 88% in limited jurisdiction courts, and from 44% to 52% in general jurisdiction courts. More states established pre-bench and continuing education requirements for both limited and general jurisdiction trial judges in 2004 than in 1993, the first year such data were available. 

From 1993 to 2004, the number of states with pre-bench education requirements for general jurisdiction judges increased from 23 to 30 and for limited jurisdiction judges, from 22 to 28. There was also a 23% increase in the number of states requiring general jurisdiction judges to continue enrolling in specific training courses during their tenure, and a 19% increase in the number of states requiring the same for limited jurisdiction judges.


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