Features

Developing an Alternative Dispute Resolution System: Created to Serve, Driven to Grow

February 27, 2019
by D. Gene Valentini

From the federal government to the smallest municipality, each bureaucracy is designed for a specific, unique function. In this labyrinth, each component can function independently; it is easy to lose sight that they best serve the public by becoming interdependent systems. The justice system in the United States is diverse and complex. One component that… Read more »

A Fresh Start: What’s the Court’s Role?

February 27, 2019
by Peter C. Kiefer

It was a hot, muggy summer evening in 2010 that lead 19-year-old Peyton to the home of a schoolmate.1 Adding bored friends to a summer weekend with parents away at the Gulf meant the kids had the perfect ingredients for a party. Dozens of kids arrived, many of whom Peyton did not know. In a… Read more »

From Letter Bombs to Poisoned Chocolates—What to Watch for and Do

February 27, 2019
by John F. Muffler

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the eNewsletter Judicial Edge, published by the National Judicial College. Recently, more than a dozen pipe bombs were delivered across the country to prominent public figures at their homes and workplaces. Although none went to judges, there is always a risk to you, your loved ones, and staff… Read more »

Have a Plan in Place to Deal with Suspicious Packages

February 27, 2019
by John F. Muffler

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the eNewsletter Judicial Edge, published by the National Judicial College. The December 1989 mail-bomb assassination of Judge Robert S. Vance of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit taught many judges to have a plan in place for dealing with potential bombs. Here’s the strategy adopted… Read more »

A New Perspective on Helping Court Customers

February 27, 2019
by Janet G. Cornell

As a court administrator, I was fully aware that court litigants and users needed assistance to make their way through the court system as self-represented litigants. As a consultant, I have worked with courts on operational best practices and strategies for self-help or self-service. However, I have a new appreciation of the importance and benefits… Read more »

Empowering Employees to Embrace Change

February 27, 2019
by Johnny Tse

Change is one constant in all our courts. Resistance to change is normal because change disrupts the current comfort zone. Change can undermine our need to feel appreciated, valued, and in control. One of the biggest changes a court can experience is switching to a new case management system (CMS). This change affects nearly all… Read more »

A Lookback at the 2018 NACM Annual Conference

November 26, 2018
by Dorothy Howell, Alyce Roberts, Randy Short, and Jeffrey M. Tsunekawa

Editor’s Note: We hope you enjoy looking back at the NACM 2018 Annual Conference in Atlanta. You can find more photos of the conference on our website and on flickr. Videos of our education sessions can be watched on YouTube. The National Association for Court Management held its 2018 Annual Conference in downtown Atlanta from… Read more »

Improving Public Confidence in the Court

November 15, 2018
by Barbara Marcille

Courthouses are typically dignified, formal places, often with armed guards and security equipment at the entrances. Judges wear robes and sit behind raised benches to convey their authority. The judicial branch is responsible for adhering to constitutionally and statutorily mandated requirements, and hallmarks of well-run courts have been timely data entry and the ability to… Read more »

Adjudicating in an Unsecured Workplace: How to Assess and Stay Safe

November 15, 2018
by John F. Muffler

Editor’s Note: This article was published in the Judges’ Journal, volume 57, number 2, spring 2018. © 2018 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or… Read more »

How to Stay Calm in Times of Stress

November 15, 2018
by Melissa Eisler

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on Melissa Eisler’s Mindful Minutes, a blog about how to live a mindful life, despite having a demanding schedule. Have you ever had a short fuse, overreacted, or lost your cool in a stressful situation? If so, you’re not alone. It can be difficult to remain calm and collected… Read more »

The Challenges of Change: How Court Managers Can Adapt to the Changing Landscape of Civil Litigation

October 9, 2018
by Serpil Ergun

The American civil justice system is facing a reckoning. There are real concerns today about how civil justice is delivered in the United States. Faith in the system is thinning. Much of the population lacks access to legal services, despite large numbers of unemployed or underemployed lawyers. The “fee-for-service” model supplemented by legal-assistance organizations and… Read more »

“If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”

May 16, 2018
by David C. Steelman

The ordinary administration of criminal and civil justice . . . contributes, more than any other circumstance, to impressing upon the minds of the people affection, esteem, and reverence towards the government. Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 17, in Clinton Rossiter (ed.), The Federalist Papers (New York: New American Library, 1961), p. 120. The strength of… Read more »

Making Peace Outside the Courtroom: Ohio’s Dispute Resolution Initiatives

October 9, 2018
by Catherine Geyer

In 2018 the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Dispute Resolution Section and the court’s 21-member statewide Commission on Dispute Resolution pursued initiatives consistent with the National Center for State Courts’ poll reflecting that, not surprisingly, Americans prefer to avoid taking their disputes to court. Examples of Ohio’s initiatives include 1) hosting a statewide dispute resolution conference;… Read more »

Purposes of Courts Reformulated

May 16, 2018
by Victor E. Flango

In the winter 2016 edition of the Court Manager, Kent Batty challenged us to a discussion of Ernie Friesen’s classic “Purposes of Courts.”1 In light of the evolving role of courts, it is indeed time that these Purposes be reviewed and reconsidered. Mr. Batty makes an admirable start at adding new purposes to accommodate the… Read more »

Call and Response: Ohio’s Civil Justice Initiative Workshops

October 9, 2018
by Colleen Rosshirt

A Call to Action Paramount to the foundation of American government is a three-branch system, which specifically works to balance the power of each branch to protect the Constitution and the rights afforded to citizens of the United States. But the ability of the judiciary to adequately fulfill its duty to the people is threatened… Read more »

Courts Tech-ing It to the Next Level

October 9, 2018
by Kathleen Maloney

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Court News Ohio, a service of the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio Government Telecommunications. Technology pervades our lives. We stay connected on smartphones, research everything online, talk to far-away relatives over video, check apps for directions. Courts in Ohio are exploring how to leverage these advances to better… Read more »

Trauma-Informed Courthouse Design

March 2, 2018
by Ken Jandura

Although a courthouse is the place where justice is served, it is also the place where people may experience high levels of stress or emotional upheaval. An individual may be dealing with a variety of traumatic experiences leading up to their arrival at the courthouse. A courthouse must respond to this unique reality through design… Read more »

Addressing the Effects of Vicarious Trauma Experienced by Court Employees

March 2, 2018
by Tiffany Hammill

Close contact with trauma survivors is an element of employment that court employees experience regularly. However, most employees, and even court managers, give little thought to the effects this contact may have on their personal and professional lives. Until recently, the fact that this secondhand connection to trauma could be a professional hazard for those… Read more »

Crisis Communication: Implementing a Mass Notification System in Your Courthouse

March 2, 2018
by Justin Mammen

In 2014 the Orange County Superior Court developed a request for proposal to identify a vendor to provide mass notification services. In late 2015 the court implemented a fully functioning mass notification system, called Court Alert. The court has eight locations and hears criminal, traffic, civil, probate, juvenile, family-law, and mental-health cases. The population of… Read more »