Most people who have been channel surfing know who Judge Judy is – a daytime TV judge, who is quick to insult and reprimand people while dishing out justice. Many of us have wondered if Judge Judy is genuinely a magistrate, or if the entire premise of the show is just another fake reality program designed for entertainment. The answer may not be as simple as one would think.
Judy Sheindlin is a retired Family Court Judge from Manhattan. She first passed the New York state bar exam in 1965 and practiced as an attorney until she was appointed as a judge in 1982. After retiring in 1996, she began filming Judge Judy. So over 20 years ago, Judge Judy was in fact a real judge, presiding over real cases, in a real courtroom. Today, however, Judge Judy Sheindlin acts as an arbitrator. The cases she arbitrates are real cases from real courtrooms, but the plaintiffs and defendants in her cases have both agreed to a Binding Arbitration Agreement with Judge Judy instead of pursuing their cases in front of an active judge. 1
Appearing on this daytime hit doesn’t just mean being on TV – if you are contacted by one of Judge Judy’s 60+ researchers/producers, not only will you receive a paid trip to Los Angeles, CA, you will be compensated to appear on the show. It has been said that participants are given anywhere from $100-$500 just to appear on the show! Aside from this, the producers will also pay any fines or fees that Judge Judy awards to either side of the dispute. You only must be willing to let the world watch your drama and have a Judy-ism or two yelled at you to receive a free trip to the coast. You’ll get some extra money in hand, and ultimately resolve your dispute – which is what it’s all about!
So, to answer the burning question: Is Judge Judy enforceable? Yes… and no. The cases shown are real cases, with the participants being persuaded to give up their lawsuit in a real court of law. The courtroom audience members, however, are reported to all be paid actors (at a much lower rate per hour than Judy herself). Judge Judy was once a real judge but is now an arbitrator – a very high paid arbitrator. It’s been reported that Judge Judy gets paid over $45 million a year, while working approximately only 52 days!
Do you have your own dispute that you’d like to keep off TV, but still have resolved? We’ll be here for you more than 52 days a year!
As we always say, “If you think you might need an attorney, you probably do.” Contact us before anything is set in stone. We love answering questions!