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Court administrators play an integral role within the American justice system, but it wasn’t until 1968, when United States Chief Justice Warren Burger decided this role should be defined – and then filled – by those who could effectively shoulder some of the administrative aspects of a court.  “Judges are already overwhelmed with an ever-growing court docket.  The last thing they need to worry about is staying within budget, ensuring payrolls are met and scheduling the court calendars”, says A. Harrison Barnes, attorney and founder.  An experienced court administrator can ease that burden.

What many don’t know is that the job descriptions are as varied as the courtrooms themselves.  In some courts, a court administrator will work to define and then meet a budget, while in another jurisdiction, the court administrator may not have to worry with budgetary issues.   Most, however, share priorities such as keeping a court system efficient, scheduling cases and ensuring procedures are followed throughout the court.

“Court administrators carry a lot on them and the good ones can effectively delegate and juggle several managerial duties simultaneously”, says the founder.  Some court administrators go into these positions as a way of exploring the legal sector as they try to decide if law school is a good fit for them.  Those who realize the role of a lawyer is not what they want to ultimately fill will remain in their court administrator position and will opt for college credits that will help them become a formidable force in the administrative aspect.

In fact, some jurisdictions require all court administrators to possess college educations.  Associates or bachelors degrees in judicial administration and/or business management are often what the courts look for when hiring a judicial administrator.

Depending on what level a court administrator is employed at, their experience and education, along with the region of the country they reside, the salaries will vary greatly.  That said, a fair “middle ground” for court administrators hovers around $40,000 annually.  Also, another important factor is the employer.  The court where the administrator works might be on a local, state or federal level.  These too will play a significant role in how much court administrators can earn, says A. Harrison Barnes.

Regardless of which court you oversee, it’s a great career choice for many.  Of course, organization is a must and a background in finance always helps since so many positions include maintaining financial records for the courts while keeping an eye on budgets.  It’s also important to realize your boss may change during election years or appointed.   In fact, federal judges generally serve in a district court for eight years while judges on the local level are elected in four year increments and therefore, a court administrator may see many judges come and go throughout the course of his won career.  According to BLS, many court administrators enjoy years of solid salary expectations as well as many opportunities to promote to higher courts.

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