I have a greater respect for the practice of law and for lawyers in general, now that I have been a full fledged attorney for about two years. I went to law school late in life at the age of 46 at Seton Hall School of Law. And I have met my share of lawyers and judges.
Many lawyers are way overpaid and judges, well, they’re way underpaid. When you figure that their current salary is not much higher than the highest First year associate at a top New York firm, you can understand the issue. But, of course, they would have to put in so many more hours as a first-year associate. [rim shot].
But that may change very soon. "The Public Officers Salary Review Commission, which meets every four years during lame-duck sessions of the legislature, is recommending [an increase in the salaries of judges], noting the productivity of New Jersey's judges and the fact that New Jersey is one of only two states to forbid judges from earning outside income.”
With the raise, the salary of a judge would go up 10.7 percent to $165,000 ---and include annual cost-of-living increases for the first time ever. Under their recommendations, Chief Justice Stuart J. Rabner's salary would go to $192,300. In 2003, then-Gov. Jim McGreevey opposed raising judicial pay. But Gov. Jon S. Corzine has always pushed for salary increases virtually identical to those recommended by the commission.
What did the Public Officers Salary Review Commission think about salary increases for legislators? They think we should leave well enough alone ---they made no recommendations for any increases for members of the Assembly and Senate. Those folks will remain in the $45,000 range ---about 25% of what top New York first year associates make.