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

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?

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

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

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

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

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 »