Judicial salaries across the country have grown stagnant as states have been forced to cut budgets, reports Stateline.org. The pay of state judges increased by less than one percent nationally from 2010 to 2011, according to the National Center for State Courts. The NCSC says judicial salaries have increased less than three percent overall since 2008. Some of the least attractive salaries are in states with the highest cost of living. Salaries for general state trial court judges range from $178,835 per year in Illinois to $104,170 per year in Mississippi.
While judges’ salaries have generally kept up with the modest rates of inflation in recent years, they continue to lag behind those of their peers in the private sector of the legal profession. It adds up to a troubling situation, says Greg Hurley of NCSC. “While you'll always get enough people that want to sit on the bench,” Hurley says, “you need to have a big enough pool… a good bench will have judges from all practice backgrounds—we want big firm players too, not just people who can afford to take the lower salary.”