President’s Message

The calendar has turned to yet another year. Many of us have cleaned our work areas, purged ourselves of items no longer relevant, and are preparing to embrace the coming of a new day—or are we? Change …ah, a word not many of us look forward to our seeing in our personal and professional lives. Change can be and often is unsettling. Change generally includes a lot of unknown variables. It may be a new duty or responsibility, a new position (a new boss for me and maybe for you as well), a new career, a new home, a new—well, you fill in the blank. Some of us even dread change. We seek out the comfort of the routine, the consistent, even if that routine is harmful to our professional development and personal growth. 

We can’t avoid change; it is the one constant in our lives. At times in this age of information technology, change comes so rapidly it appears as a blur. I often find myself out of step, much like possessing a smart phone from three generations ago. 

We find dealing with change, particularly in our profession, as a delicate dance, a balancing act between the application of cutting-edge technology to tried-and-true protocols in the administration of our courts. Technology can provide greater access to justice and increase expedience and timeliness of case processing, two vital trial court performance standards. Of course, we are keenly aware how reliance on such technology can also tip the scales of justice to make it unfair for those who do not have the means to possess such technology. This is a lesson the courts have experienced. Still, the public expects the courts to change with the whims of the present. Educating the public on the purposes of courts is essential. I’m not going to even begin to discuss AI or artificial generative intelligence.

For certain, the COVID-19 global pandemic taught us to embrace some aspects of change to our protocols. We learned to apply technology within parameters set by our business practices, not outside or in conflict with such practices. While doing so, we have restored some confidence the public may have in the judiciary. Perhaps our most significant accomplishment has been not the use of technology to enhance access to justice; rather, it is our embracing the inevitability that change will force us to adapt and grow. Without change, there is no creativity. Without creativity, there is no growth. We must and we will always learn and grow. Tomorrow may not be promised for all, but it is promised for someone. Let us prepare to fulfill that promise. I know you will. You do it every day.