Taking the Bench: An Interactive Web-Based Course for New Trial Judges

November 7 – December 9, 2016 | Web | Tuition Fully Funded

The purpose of this interactive web-based course is to provide education for general jurisdiction judges who have been recently elected or appointed. The course is four weeks in length with judges averaging four to six hours per week on assignments and the weekly web conference. Week one addresses issues that judges face in transitioning from the bar to the bench. Week two addresses what new judges can expect to experience in their courtrooms. Week three addresses what judges do in chambers that even trial lawyers wouldn’t necessarily be aware of. Week four addresses what judges should (and should not) do in relating to their communities.

This pilot course is being presented by The National Judicial College (NJC) through a grant funded by the State Justice Institute (SJI).

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What will I learn?

During this course, you will learn to:

  • Summarize whether it’s appropriate for them to have a Facebook account or participate in social media under their state’s ethical rules;
  • Differentiate between those community, political and business and financial activities that they are allowed to attend and those they are not;
  • Summarize their responsibilities for winding up a law practice (if relevant);
  • Describe those cases in which they must disqualify themselves or otherwise note on the record the associations they had with previous clients or organizations;
  • Recite the importance of a fair and impartial court system and the rationale behind judicial independence;
  • Identify the types of mental health issues faced by judges, new and experienced, and describe potential solutions;
  • State the impact that isolation has on some judges and describe possible options for alleviating it;
  • Define the positive aspects of being a judge;
  • Describe their contempt powers with an understanding that contempt is only to be used as a last resort;
  • Define the elements for making a successful record for appellate purposes;
  • Outline ways to avoid wasting time at trial;
  • Manage self-represented litigants and difficult or obstreperous parties or witnesses;
  • Explain the importance of “procedural fairness”;
  • Summarize the role of judicial discretion and ways it can be exercised appropriately;
  • Define more clearly the judge’s appropriate role in encouraging settlements;
  • Identify best practices for providing access to self-represented litigants;
  • Describe the judge’s role in caseflow management;
  • Identify the elements of effective judicial opinion writing;
  • Summarize the necessary components for an effective court interpreter program;
  • State the criteria that judges should consider in sentencing;
  • Define when judges may speak publicly about the justice system without jeopardizing fairness in cases before them;
  • Describe methods for dealing with the media with the ultimate goal of educating the public about the courts;
  • Identify ways to appropriately respond to criticism; and
  • Summarize methods for ensuring the safety of themselves and their families.

Who should attend?

This course has been specifically designed for judges who preside over courts in rural areas and small, possibly isolated jurisdictions.

Who are the members of the faculty?

The faculty for this course includes judges from across the country knowledgable in the subject matter that will be presented.

How is this course taught?

This course is a four week tract (with a one-week break between weeks two and three). There will be class work and a web conference each week. However, there will be a “break” after week two and class work will resume week three. Between weeks two and three, there is a week-long break for Thanksgiving. During the week-long break for Thanksgiving there will be no class work or web conference.

The course has a number of online web conferences.
All web conferences are scheduled on Thursdays and will be led by faculty for a live hour-long web conference in the following time zones:
10 am Hawaii / 11 am Alaska / 12 pm Pacific / 1 pm Mountain / 2 pm Central / 3 pm Eastern.
The first web conference is scheduled on Thursday of the first course week.

What should I tell my presiding judge or funding agency so that my attendance will be approved?

Research shows that web courses are as effective as live courses, with less expense and greater convenience. This is an opportunity for the new trial judge to gain a great amount of education without having to leave their docket or bench.

Whom should I contact for more information?

For more information, please contact the Registrar’s Office at (800) 255-8343 or registrar@judges.org.

This course qualifies for The National Judicial College Certificate in Judicial Development program Administrative Law Adjudication Skills, General Jurisdiction Trial Skills, Special Court Trial Skills and Tribal Judicial Skills disciplines

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2017-02-14T14:56:22+00:00 November 1st, 2016|