Who Says You Can't Go Home Again?
Who says that you can't go home again?
On Friday, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Joe Wall announced that he was resigning from the bench to rejoin the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Prior to being elected as a judge in 2001, Wall had been an Assistant United States Attorney since 1986.
Since Wall's announcement, several people have asked me why anyone would stop being a judge in order to be a prosecutor. While I haven't yet spoken with Joe about his decision, I think the answer is obvious. In my opinion, being an Assistant United States Attorney is a much better job than being a circuit court judge.
Frankly, I think being a circuit court judge would be extremely boring. The work is often mind-numbingly routine. The physical conditions at the Milwaukee County Courthouse are challenging at best. The lack of resources is undoubtedly frustrating. In addition, on top of all this, the posibility for upward mobility (especially for a white male) is pretty much non-existent.
If you can't figure it out already, I have not yet been bitten by "the Judge bug".
In contrast, being an Assistant United States Attorney is a really great job! If you are so inclined, you have the opportunity to work on interesting and challenging cases. Unlike the DA's Office, your caseload is busy but not crushing. You also have the resources of the Federal government at your disposal. On top of all of this, you work with really good people and get paid pretty well to do so.
Circuit court judge or Federal prosecutor? Hmm, let me think this one through? Actually, at least for my money, it's not a close call.
"Back in the day", I had the pleasure of working with Joe Wall in the United States Attorney's Office. For the last few years that I was there, Joe and I were both assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. We tried several cases together and I had the opportunity to see first-hand what a great lawyer Joe was. While I appreciated his desire to take on a new challlenge by running for the bench in Milwaukee County, I always thought Wall was a prosecutor at heart.
Thomas Wolfe said that "you can't go home again". I've never really thought this was true. Even if your home has been remodeled, added on to and repainted, it will still always be home. At least I hope this proves to be the case for Joe!