Those of us committed to court administration recognize that the strength of this profession is directly linked to men and women with the vision and commitment not only to advance the profession, but also to develop and support others along the way. In June 2019, one of those very special leaders is retiring from his official position in court administration. Jude Del Preore began his career in the probation division in Morris County, New Jersey in 1974. Forty-five years later, after numerous accomplishments, certainly more than I will be able to capture here, our good friend Jude will retire from his post as trial court administrator of the Burlington Vicinage of the Superior Court of New Jersey. The impact of Jude’s efforts will not end in 2019 but will continue due to his work with court professionals around the country. He has taught, created, influenced, and led individuals, groups, associations, and courts throughout this country and his legacy will live on through each of them and the court staff and citizens that they in turn impact.
Jude served in multiple leadership roles early in his career and transitioned to court administration in 1985. He enrolled in the Court Executive Development Program of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and became a Fellow in 1988. He was promoted to the position of trial court administrator in 1997.
He has conducted training for the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts, Seton Hall Law School, Michigan State University, NCSC, and two police academies, as well as the National Association for Court Management (NACM) and the Mid-Atlantic Association for Court Management (MAACM). His commitment to NACM and MAACM are so strong that he served as president for both organizations. As president of NACM from 2010-2011 he achieved many accomplishments:
- initiated goal implementation of the six-point NACM 2010-2015 National Agenda;
- implemented a strong distance-learning initiative;
- created a plan for updating the NACM Core© Competencies;
- maintained budget accountability by creating a financial plan/investment strategy; and
- improved communication through our publications, website, and social media.
Later, he participated in rewriting the NACM Core© and wrote accompanying curriculum. He continues to teach court management courses across the country. Jude has taught judges and court professionals from Nigeria, Japan, and the Republic of Georgia. In recognition of his tireless advocacy for training, education, and leadership, Jude was inducted into NCSC’s Warren E. Burger Society. NACM recognized him, too, in 2017 with the prestigious Award of Merit for his national service and leadership.
Past NACM President Pam Harris and current Maryland state court administrator said, “Jude’s 45 years of service exemplifies the meaning of Servant Leadership. Jude not only served the citizens of New Jersey with distinction, but also served the courts across our nation while selflessly contributing his time and efforts to the mission of the Mid-Atlantic Association for Court Management and the National Association for Court Management. Jude’s dedication to developing people, building teams, and achieving results, goes unmatched. The courts in New Jersey and across the nation are losing a trusted colleague and a steward of justice for all. He will be missed by many.”
Jude was instrumental in bringing NCSC’s Institute for Court Management (ICM) programs to his home state. As chair of the New Jersey Administrative Council’s Education and Training Committee, he led the effort to create an ICM licensee agreement between New Jersey and NCSC. As trial court administrator in two different courts, Jude insisted that managers join him in leading learning organizations, striving toward a vision of growth and development for all employees. Teaching across the state and leading several statewide committees, Jude’s vision and leadership have been evident across New Jersey.
The acting New Jersey administrative director of the courts, Judge Glenn A. Grant, describes Jude’s impact this way: “Jude Del Preore’s forty-five years of service to the New Jersey Judiciary is emblematic of a career dedicated to service. He has been an outspoken champion and proponent for the continued professionalism and advancement of judicial administration. Equally important, he has carried out his duties with wisdom, fairness, respect for others, and dedication to public service. He leaves an indelible footprint for other court professionals to follow, and his legacy will be felt not only in New Jersey but in court systems around the country.”
In Burlington County he worked closely with local officials to preserve the history of one of the oldest working courthouses in the country. Furthering his commitment to preserving knowledge, he also partnered with the county bar association to develop an oral history project capturing videotaped recordings of experienced judges, attorneys, and court professionals.
The profession of court administration has benefited greatly from Jude’s tremendous and generous contributions. The impact of his leadership, mentoring, teaching, and friendship will continue an additional 45 years and beyond. Jude often closes training sessions with a reminder of the importance of the work with a favorite quote from U.S. Justice Benjamin Cardozo:
I will do the best I can in the common task in which we are all engaged—the great and sacred task—the administration of justice.As quoted in A. L. Kaufman, Cardozo (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), p. 127.
Several years ago, as he moved on to another court, he challenged me to “Keep it Alive!” On June 30, 2019, Jude passes that challenge to all court professionals. KEEP IT ALIVE!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nina Thomas is a court executive with the Superior Court of New Jersey. She is charged with the administration of the civil division in Burlington.