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How to Become a New York Justice of the Peace

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Traditionally, a justice of the peace is an appointed official of the court who has limited magisterial power within the court's jurisdiction. The justice of the peace may preside over wedding ceremonies, traffic infractions and misdemeanor cases, and issue warrants for search or arrest. Currently 10 states, including New York, have absorbed the position into the larger judicial system. This means that a justice of the peace must be a member of the legal community in order to receive appointment.

Complete a bachelor's degree in any discipline. There are no required academic majors to study in order to gain admission to law school, though many find that academic majors with a strong focus on writing and analytical research serve as excellent preparation for the rigors of law school. A bachelor's degree need not be completed before application to law school, though the applicant must be in his final year of study.

Take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) before application to law school. The LSAT is administered five times per year (February, June, September, October, December) and the law school admission cycle generally opens in September and closes in February.

Research law schools accredited the American Bar Association (ABA). Apply only to ABA-accredited schools since admission to a state bar association is only conferred upon those who graduate from an ABA-accredited school.

Gain admission through application. Complete three years of full-time study in order to graduate with the degree of Juris Doctorate (also known as a law degree).

Apply for membership to the New York Bar Association. Register for the New York Bar Examination. This examination is only offered twice per year, in February and July. It will take approximately four months to receive test results. Membership to the New York Bar Association is dependent upon satisfactory completion of the New York Bar Examination.

Gain experience working for a judge, if possible. Express interest in becoming a justice of the peace. New York only allows experienced attorneys to become appointed as justice of the peace officers. Appointment is only decreed by an existing judge and is made by his discretion. The position of justice of the peace can only be fulfilled by members of the legal community.


Kate Barber has been working as a freelance writer for over five years and currently lives in Santa Barbara, California. She worked as a writer for "Humanus," a journal on human rights, and is a graduate of New York University with a Master of Arts degree in economics.

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