The Judicial Salary Problem

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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2 Responses

  1. Mike S. says:

    Perhaps a petty point, but doesn’t everyone think they should be paid more to do what they do?

    Though the pay for federal judges might seem small to lawyers in or previously in the private sector, it’s worth noting that judges make six figures and in the United States, that’s not bad.

    (It certainly cracked me up when I read that the “low pay” of former 4th Circuit Judge Michael Luttig contributed to his decision to become GC at Boeing. The Washington Post reported: “Friends of Luttig said yesterday that the financial lure of the Boeing job and the greater ability to pay for his children’s college education — Luttig has a 14-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son — were key to his resignation. Luttig’s judicial salary was $171,800.”)

    Moreover, I think much like public interest lawyers — save a handful of pro bono coordinators at large law firms — those working in the public sector know they will never make so much as their colleagues in the private sector. But as Hoffman points out, there is a payout of prestige that accompanies the (subjectively) paltry salary. And for persons such as myself, enjoyment of one’s work also is a pay of sorts.

    Does anyone else see the continuing clamour over judicial pay as a bit overblown?

    ps- Hoffman makes great points about pay and noncompliance rates, but you have to wonder if pay is the only factor at work in these incidents. Roy Moore comes to mind though without doing more research myself, I am loathe to do anything more than speculate.

  2. Humpty Dumpty says:

    Grotesque greed. It just shows how far out of the mainstream the judiciary and trial lawyers are. 165k isn’t sufficient? Should be the level of a high school teacher’s salary.