Improving Trial Court Leadership

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NACM is Vital to Improving Leadership Training in Trial Courts ... New, expanded seminars and workshops on leadership and governance will be taught by teams of current and ...

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Improving Trial Court Leadership

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1. ©2006 Institute for Court Management Improving Trial Court Leadership New Educational Initiatives

2. ©2006 Institute for Court Management NACM is Vital to Improving Leadership Training in Trial Courts Court managers are an integral part of the leadership team in courts Leadership improvement is a central initiative in NACM’s strategic plan, culminating in the Third National Symposium on Court Management in 2010 NACM’s Core Competency Curriculum Guidelines: What Court Leaders Need to Know and Be Able to Do is a template around which new leadership courses can be designed

3. ©2006 Institute for Court Management What Else is Going On? Collaboration between NCSC and NJC to revitalize leadership education in the nation’s trial courts Update the Executive Component curriculum Use new research and learnings about leadership in courts (i.e. Court Cultures) Target the world of presiding judges in addition to court managers. In America’s 16,000 trial courts, presiding judge turn- over is roughly 20-25% per year. They have limited training opportunities at state or local levels. Prototype curriculum has been developed. New, expanded seminars and workshops on leadership and governance will be taught by teams of current and former presiding judges and court managers. First pilot program to take place in Phoenix; hosted by the Trial Courts in Maricopa County and AZ Supreme Court.

4. ©2006 Institute for Court Management What Else is Going On? Future national seminars will largely be sited at trial court facilities in strategic locations rather than hotels or resorts Curriculum will be developed so it can be Tailored to specific needs and problems of individual states and/or courts; Updated and enhanced as new knowledge and research is developed about leadership and trial court issues Taught by state-level and trial court educators rather than NCSC or NJC specialists (i.e. train the trainer) A Presiding Judges Forum has been created by NCSC to identifying needs and issues of leadership judges. Group also includes court managers, judicial educators, academics and researchers. Forum developed a valuable tool: The Key Elements of an Effective Rule of Court on the Role of the Presiding Judge in Trial Courts.

5. ©2006 Institute for Court Management What are PJ Key Rule Elements? 26 crucial provisions important to include in state Rules of Court to define and strengthen the role of trial court presiding judges “Generic” Job Description for PJ’s Provisions are flexible, recognizing that PJ roles differ depending on court jurisdiction, organization structure, and Judicial Branch history and custom Tool to enhance management partnerships between presiding judges and court managers

6. ©2006 Institute for Court Management How were They Developed? Fall 2004 – NCSC requested by state court leaders to develop ways to strengthen the role of the trial court presiding judges. April 2005 – Advisory Forum convened of presiding judges & court executives from 11 states and the District of Columbia. Two priority topics were identified which NCSC undertook to address… Key Elements of an Effective Rule of Court on the Role of the Presiding Judge in the Trial Court, and A new curriculum targeting trial court leadership and governance for presiding judges and court managers

7. ©2006 Institute for Court Management During 2005 – Key Elements were drafted using existing rules of court and statutory language from various states and revised by Advisory Forum members. January 2006 – Draft Key Elements were presented at the NACM Mid-Year Meeting for discussion and comment. April 2006 – Advisory Forum met a second time in Williamsburg at NCSC headquarters for review and final dialogue. June 2006 – Key Elements were finalized and posted on the www.ncsconline.org

8. ©2006 Institute for Court Management How Can They be Used? To stimulate discussion within the national community of state courts regarding the role and authority of presiding judges. To offer examples of a range of roles and duties that promote effective leadership without prescribing a “model rule of court”. To suggest important categories and responsibilities related to governance, leading judicial officers, caseflow, performance standards, organization management, leadership transition, and effective relationships with government, private and civic officials. To act as a template for educational program design.

9. ©2006 Institute for Court Management How can the “Elements” be Used to Guide Leadership Improvements? Washington State Example Comparing WA Rules to NCSC Key Elements

10. ©2006 Institute for Court Management Presiding Judge Selection Washington Election of PJ should be based on Management & administrative ability Interest Experience & familiarity with various trial court assignments Ability to motivate and educate Four years of experience, unless waived by majority vote of the judges National Center Election or appointment should be based on Same five characteristics as outlined by Washington, plus Ability to evaluate the strengths of the court’s bench officers and make assignments based on those strengths as well as the best interests of the public and court History or prior experience with administrative duties Leadership skills Continuity in court’s management and day-to-day operations

11. ©2006 Institute for Court Management Judicial Assignments Washington Ensure swift and efficient processing of all cases Promote equitable distribution of work among judicial officers Court may establish policies governing the assignment of judges National Center Duty of the PJ to make assignments using objective criteria Must balance fairness and expertise regarding “hardship assignments” Goals should embrace both cross-training and a “best fit” approach

12. ©2006 Institute for Court Management Court Manager Selection & Role Washington Reports directly to the PJ Model job description established by Board for Judicial Administration Board of judges hires and fires court administrator National Center Court managers are selected in numerous ways, including appointment by PJ, state court administrator, higher court official; independent election; or the board of judges CM must operate as an agent of the board of judges and PJ Duties may be prescribed by statute or rule, or be open-ended with delegation by PJ What matters most is not the division of labor between PJ and CM, but their working relationship as a leadership team

13. ©2006 Institute for Court Management Oversight of Judicial Officers Washington PJ shall supervise judicial officers as to timely and efficient case processing PJ may prescribe remedial action for performance flaws If remedial action fails, PJ shall notify Commission on Judicial Conduct National Center PJ must have authority to ensure all judicial officers maintain ethical and professional standards and follow policies established by the board of judges If ethical or professional standards are violated, PJ has a duty to promote internal remedies and report to the appropriate statewide judicial management board

14. ©2006 Institute for Court Management Judicial Services Contracts Washington A judicial officer may contract with a municipality or county to serve as a judicial officer Any employment contract shall acknowledge the court as an independent branch of government and the judge and court staff as bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct and General Rule 29 National Center Where PJ is appointed by an executive or legislative branch agency, it is desirable to have a formal written rule, policy or provision that underscores the importance of the separation of powers doctrine One effective way to do so is for the appointing authority to delegate nomination, oversight and performance assessment to an independent committee or commission PJ should serve for a fixed period subject only to removal for cause

15. ©2006 Institute for Court Management Trial Court Leadership Team Needs and Issues

16. ©2006 Institute for Court Management Hand-Out Presiding Judge Needs and Issues Assuming the New Job as PJ Learning the Job Leadership Team Working with the Bench Understanding the Court as a Complex Organization The Executive Component: PJ/CM Caseflow Management: Number One, Ongoing Issue Working as Leaders within the Judicial Branch Working as Leaders outside the Judicial Branch Your Personal Life

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