Vanderbilt Law Review

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Lawyers already in practice at one law firm often move to another law firm. This type of move is referred to as "lateraling." A lawyer might choose to lateral for many of the reasons we often think people in general take new positions: better job security, better pay, better benefits, greater prestige, more interesting work, better future job prospects, more leisure time, and/or more predictable hours.' In contrast to lawyers in private practice, we do not commonly associate judges with lateraling. But the fact is that, just as some judges are reassigned or promoted within a judicial system (for example, a federal district judge being elevated to the court of appeals), some judges occasionally engage in a practice to which we logically might refer as "judicial lateraling": they move from being a judge in one judicial system to being a judge in another. Since judges are usually (inexorably) tied to a particular jurisdiction, the reality is that a judicial lateral will move either from a state judiciary to the federal judiciary, or from the federal judiciary to a state judiciary.

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