A Lot of NY Judges Are Unhappy About 17 Percent Pay Raise

By Edward Tan, JD on April 03, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Attention New York attorneys. The judges you practice in front of are getting a raise. But they're not all that thrilled about it.

New York will be instituting a 17 percent judge pay raise this fiscal year. The planned pay hikes are part of a three-year initiative by the state to raise state judge salaries 27 percent in total.

However, many New York judges aren't too happy with the changes.

Many state judges see it as "too little too late," the ABA Journal reports.

As of April 1, the annual salary for New York trial-level Supreme Court judges will increase from $136,700 to $160,000. In 2013, pay will be raised again to $167,000. The year after that, it will be $174,000.

Judges presiding on New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals, will see their salaries bumped up from the current $151,200 to $192,500 by 2014. The Chief Judge's pay will be raised from $156,000 to $198,600 in the same time period.

Despite the scheduled salary increases, "several judges remain bitter," the ABA Journal reports. This round of raises will be the first for New York judges in 12 years.

While some may scoff at the judges' reactions to the six-figure incomes, especially considering that the national average wage was $41,673.83 in 2010. To maintain the same standard of living as those in the rest of the country, New York judges would have to earn over double that amount.

For instance, a study released in 2009 revealed that a New Yorker would have to earn $123,322 annually to match the standard of living of a Houston resident earning $50,000 a year, the New York Daily News reports.

Many judges have left the bench due to issues over pay. Judicial turnover was nearly 1 in 10.

For now, it remains to be seen if the planned judge pay raises will be enough to keep everyone happy. The promise of higher salaries for judges can be tempting in New York, where partners at private law firms can earn more than $1 million annually.

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