Most people assume that a lawyer must have many years of experience before being eligible to become a judge. And to be an appeals judge, many would assume even more years of "seasoning" and trial exposure would be required. In Florida, a State Senator is trying to get the amount of time necessary to run for judgeship doubled, to 10 years, according to the The Florida Bar News. I think this would be a good idea because putting inexperienced lawyers on the trial court could result in arbiters deciding cases when they have minimal time on the other side of the bench. As one who helps train judges for the trial courts, judicial training without the necessary breadth of experience is insufficient, as a matter of law.
This bill would require lawyer candidates seeking judgeships on the county and circuit bench to have a decade of Bar membership, instead of the current five years. That would make the eligibility requirements for trial judges the same as appellate judges. Florida State Senator Ring, the sponsor of the Bill, noted, “You could have judges on the bench 20-plus years, honored over and over, and top-rated, and . . . lose to some kid fresh out of law school.”