A justice of the peace is the legal official who is generally called in to officiate the proceedings of a wedding when the couple wants a legal ceremony and not a religious one. Justices of the peace also have other responsibilities, although they generally only have a bearing in deciding minor court cases. In the state of Florida, the justice of the peace is an elected position. Education and experience as a lawyer will prepare an individual for an eventual career as a justice of the peace.
Obtain a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited Florida college or university. Popular degree choices for students interested in becoming a justice of the peace after graduation include pre-law bachelor's degree paths such as philosophy or political science.
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Complete a course of study for your law degree at a Florida law school. If the school does not have a dedicated justice of the peace program, register for courses focusing on legal terminology as well as criminal justice. Students attending law school to become a justice of the peace often register for the school's Juris Doctor, or JD program.
Pass the bar examination and earn some experience working as an attorney. Experience in the courtroom is an important prerequisite that a candidate running for elected office as justice of the peace in Florida needs to have. Besides presiding over legal marriages, a Florida justice of the peace is also responsible for judging minor civil and criminal court cases.
Hire a dedicated full-time campaign manager to run your bid for election as justice of the peace if you need campaign management help. Campaign managers are responsible for effective budgeting, management of campaign staff and outreach to increase the voter base. A qualified campaign manager typically has a bachelor's degree, previous campaign experience and a wide range of communicative skills; if you're running in a multiethnic district, a campaign manager with bilingual skills is preferable.
Contact the Florida Division of Election to qualify for candidacy as a justice of the peace. Justices of the peace in Florida must file candidacy papers with the office of elections in the counties within which they want to run. This includes a petition which must contain a certain number of signatures from residents; the amount of signatures needed will vary from county to county. You must submit documentation regarding campaign finances and any treasurer hired to manage these funds.
Win your election to become a justice of the peace. County court judges in the state of Florida, including justices of the peace, serve a term of six years once elected to office.
- Education-Portal.com: How to Become a Justice of the Peace - Education and Career Roadmap
- DegreeDirectory.org: Justice of the Peace
- Google Books: "The Florida Paralegal"; Statsky, Diotalevi & Linquist; 2010
- Local Victory: "How to Be a Great Political Campaign Manager"; Joe Garecht
- Florida Division of Elections: Contact Us