Those of us whose livelihood depends upon the decisions of judges almost always genuflect for any suggestion of a pay raise for judges. I have done it before and I will do it again. I genuflect even though in this economy there are countless well-qualified attorneys who would gladly swap places with federal judges who have lifetime appointments, steady salaries, good benefits, no overhead, and no entrepreneurial risk.
Now we learn that a well-deserved and totally uncontroversial cost of living adjustment for federal judges has been tucked into the automobile manufacturers bailout legislation. Under this proposal, US district court judges and members of Congress, both of whom earn $169,300 a year, will get a $5,000 raise on January 1, and are expected to be awarded a 2.8 percent raise next year.
Ken Shigley is an Atlanta, Georgia trial attorney with a practice is focused on cases of catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death arising from commercial truck and bus accidents. He is a former chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute, and is a frequent speaker at national continuing legal education programs on trucking liability cases. He has been rated as a "Super Lawyer" (Atlanta Magazine), one of the "Legal Elite" (Georgia Trend Magazine), and a Certified Civil Trial Advocate (National Board of Trial Advocacy,). Mr. Shigley is currently Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia. To increase capacity for handling more and larger cases, he recently became "of counsel" with the law firm of Chambers, Aholt & Rickard which has an extensive trucking liability practice.