Candidates For Judge Running Solely To Boost Their Incomes?





It is election time and the Broward Courthouse crowd is grumbling once again that too many candidates for judge are running for the wrong reasons.

The complaint is that lawyers run for judge to improve their finances rather than to improve the judiciary. The subtext of this argument is that candidates who need to become judges to boost their incomes are not Broward’s best and most accomplished lawyers.

Below are the incomes of the four Broward Circuit Court candidates now running for two open seats on the Broward Circuit Court.

The candidate’s reported income:

Group 9

  • Andrea Gundersen’s 2015 salary — $86,325
  • Lea Krauss’s 2015 salary — $94,369

Group 15

  • Barbara Duffy’s 2015 salary — $50,000
  • Abbe Rifkin’s 2015 salary — $140,256


The election winner can expect to earn roughly $145,000 annually, plus generous retirement and health benefits as a Circuit Court judge. Thus Rifkin is the only candidate that will not be receiving a big boost in salary if she wins.


Abbe Rifkin

Abbe Rifkin in court


None of the candidates are exceedingly wealthy for veteran lawyers. Their net worth’s are:

Group 9

  • Gundersen: $746,312
  • Krauss: $560,000

Group 15

  • Duffy: $459,763
  • Rifkin: $445,603


Gundersen has the largest net worth, but she is the oldest at 60.

Rifkin is 59, but if the only one of the four candidates who works for government. She’s a Miami-Dade homicide prosecutor.

Duffy, 50, was a prosecutor and is now in private practice. Krauss, 41, is also in private practice.

So are the candidates’ running for a better salary? You decide.





7 Responses to “Candidates For Judge Running Solely To Boost Their Incomes?”

  1. Attorney says:

    Unfortunately until we offer more money we won’t get more qualified people to run. The salary of a judge is terrible. A successful attorney simply can not afford it. That is the facts. Until they make judgeships a job that can have a decent salary you are going to keep getting mediocre attorneys looking for a pay raise.

  2. Double Standard Nevins says:

    I guess your blog has become J.A.A.B. ll, where have you wrote a column implying that male counterparts seek judgeship’s to boost their financial strength yet you implicate these women of that baseless innuendo.

    Are you a closet misogynist?


    Those are the four candidates running for Broward Circuit Court. Their gender is irrelevant to the story.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Let’s review the values they place on their practices, shall we?

    Krauss $49k
    Duffy $25k
    Gundersen $175K Seriously?

  4. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I wouldn’t judge incomes of civil servants on the same basis as lawyers in the private sector.
    Real Estate Lawyers n Lobbyists make most of their net wealth from equity in real estate not professional fees which is why real estate attorneys are the weathiest n like the successful trial attorneys only run after they have amassed great wealth.

    I wont want to disqualify low paid Public Defenders for Judgeships.

    I dont think Brandeis or Cardoza wanted Supreme Court appointments to make money or any other modest wealth Supremes since the Founding of the Republic on the wider horizon

  5. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    1 cousin 1 friend’s eife 1 political ally and one schmuck who hung around a Club House in Manhattan have gotten Federal Judgeships.

    Cousin took a pay cut

    Friend is a millionaire son of a millionaire

    Political ally took a pay cut

    Schmuck got only a Federal bankrupcy court judgeship and probably made 10 000 or more a year increase in income

    Would County Judges be more or less the same?

    How much does the Taxpayer want to pay?

    These are questions ONLY THE VOTERS CAN ANSWER.

  6. Zowie says:

    Speaking of which, whatever happened to Judge Larry?

  7. A Lawyer's Perspective says:

    The theory that paying more will get you those senior (predominately white older men) attorneys to give up their practices to run for judge is no longer true.

    When you build up that type of firm, you make so much money, it isn’t worth giving it up. Plus, they really don’t want to deal with being a judge in today’s world.

    They would rather just retire and collect their check, then serve. They would work at their own pace without the complications in life that holding public office would cause.

    Therefore I propose that we overpay our judges. We could easily pay them $100,000, and with the savings pay for the additional court personnel we desperately need even more than the judges.

    When in Broward and Dade County I see it taking 2 to 3 months to get a judge to act on an unopposed motion/petition, that is denying justice. That’s why you have so many attorneys having hearings (clogging up the system) just to move their cases.

    Getting a scheduled hearing (a couple of weeks, with the ability to fix problems quickly) in Broward is now quicker then just efiling the papers in and waiting (2 to 3 months, plus additional delay if something isn’t exactly correct). That makes absolutely no sense.


    This proposal will be as popular as Zeka at the courthouse! That doesn’t mean it isn’t an interesting opinion.