Fame & Fortune: TV's Judge Alex Ferrer
Education is the
key to financial security
When Alex Ferrer's parents
escaped Fidel Castro's Cuba when Alex was 1 year old, they probably never imagined
that their son would be both a distinguished judge and a daytime television star.
Then again, the potential for such success was probably the exact reason they
did what they did.
As the son of immigrants who made great sacrifices
in pursuit of a better, freer life, Ferrer learned the value of
hard work early on, taking jobs from the age of 15, becoming a Miami
police officer at 19, juggling police work with law school and eventually
becoming the youngest circuit court judge in the Eleventh Judicial
Circuit of Florida at age 34. After 10 years on the bench, Judge
Ferrer's charisma and even-handedness caught the attention of television
producers, and the syndicated court show "Judge Alex"
launched in September 2005, becoming the highest-rated daytime syndication
debut of the year, and the most successful new daytime syndicated
show since "Dr. Phil."
spoke with Judge Ferrer about the work ethic that got him where he is today and
how that has impacted his financial future.
How does one go from being a state circuit court judge to having his own TV show?
Judge Alex Ferrer: I'd
been a judge for about 10 years in Miami, and they saw footage of
me handling a case. When you've been doing nine or 10 years in the
criminal division in Miami, which is the fourth largest court system
in the country, you handle a lot of high-profile cases. So there
was a lot of media footage of me handling cases. Two networks got
their hands on some footage a few years ago, and both approached
me about court shows. We never reached an agreement, because I wasn't
sure if I wanted to make that leap. But for the next two years I
kicked myself, because I'm the type of person who tries new things,
and I didn't take the opportunity. So when Twentieth Television
decided they wanted to do a court show, they approached me, and
we hit it off. It was a perfect fit, and I was ready to take the
leap. At that point, I was being considered for a vacancy on the
appellate court -- I was considered the front-runner. And then this
comes along, and it's completely different. Being a judge is the
pinnacle of many lawyers' careers, and very few people get the opportunity
to be an appellate judge. I was leaving that area, which would have
been a heck of an accomplishment in my legal career, to go do something
I'd never done before.
So turning down the appellate judgeship was a big deal. Why did you make that
Judge Alex Ferrer: After
a lot of discussion with my wife and my kids -- my daughter is 16 and my son is
14 -- it came down to the fact that in a couple of years my kids are going to
college, and this gives me the opportunity to spend more time with them, because
my taping schedule is such that I have a lot of intensive taping and then a lot
of free time.