2019 Course


Judicial Academy: A Course for Aspiring Judges

Judicial Academy: A Course for Aspiring Judges

Monday, Oct 14, 2019
toFriday, Oct 18, 2019

Event Location

The National Judicial College

The National Judicial College (NJC) will present its inaugural Judicial Academy at NJC in Reno, Nevada. In its more than half century of educating judges, NJC has never before presented a course with an emphasis on educating attorneys who wish to join the ranks of the judiciary.

By application only, NJC will offer this 4.5-day course to 40 selected participants who want to be trial judges. NJC will select a diverse participant class (age, race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and national or ethnic origin.) to help in the national effort to ensure a diverse judiciary.

Over the years, judicial educators have expressed concern that some individuals join the judiciary without first examining whether the career choice is right for them. Many disgruntled judicial officers find they don’t like the role because of the restrictions it places on their financial, social and family lives. This academy will help participants determine whether the career is a good fit for them.

Once they have established they want the career, NJC will help prepare them for the selection process, whether elected or appointed.  NJC faculty will highlight effective methods for seeking the position. The course will answer the following questions for judicial candidates:

  • What relationships should the candidate build to assist their candidacies?
  • What are the hallmarks of an effective judicial resume?
  • How should the candidates prepare themselves and their families for the journey to becoming judges?
  • What substantive or content knowledge do candidates need to master?
  • How should candidates conduct themselves on social media and in public to improve their viability?
  • What judicial ethical rules are candidates bound by?
  • How should those ethics rules impact their behavior?

The Academy will emphasize a “learn by doing” dynamic featuring judges, judicial selection professionals, and other experts who will help the participating lawyers discover ways to seek judicial positions and to build strong foundations for serving in the role.

Judicial candidates should have the essential qualities to be good judges: integrity, knowledge of the law, intelligence, knowledge of implicit biases, the ability to apply the law fairly, the capacity to make timely decisions, the courage to make difficult decisions, compassion, humility, patience, and the personal skills to preside over a courtroom with appropriate demeanor and courtesy to all participants. Judges must be non-political arbiters of the law. Society expects them to be impartial and perhaps just as importantly, to appear to be impartial. Judicial candidates cannot make promises during their campaigns or selection interviews about how they might rule or otherwise suggest they have prejudged cases they haven’t yet heard. Rather, they must decide cases based on the law and facts presented in their courtrooms, not on the basis of their personal views or preconceptions.

On the other hand, society expects judges to serve as leaders in their communities. In doing so, court rules encourage judges to educate the public about the judiciary, ways to improve it, and about the legal system in general.

During the course, the expert faculty and participating attorneys will engage in discussions about their own judicial philosophies after examining legal and judicial history, theory and philosophy. The participants will learn about the types of pressures that judges face that differ from their current roles and how those pressures can impact their families. They will receive a behind-the-scenes looks at what judges do that most trial lawyers are not aware of. They will also discover resources in all areas of the law that will help them to master their work (civil, criminal, family, juvenile, and probate).

Judges have to be able to manage themselves and manage juries, cases, court computer programs, and other intricacies. The course will help them to outline the most common evidentiary objections they’ll face. They will learn how to handle cases involving dissolution, domestic violence (protective orders), paternity, name changes, adoptions, children in need of services, marriages (as officiant), guardianships, and other judicial matters. The faculty members will help the participants to manage criminal cases and motions in limine. The participants will be given the tools to assess how judicial writing differs from legal writing and locate resources for improving their writing and oral delivery of decisions. They will learn how to appropriately interact with the media, the public, attorneys, and their own families. Finally, they will learn how oversee probate cases (involving wills, trusts, and estates).

After participating in the 4.5-day intensive academy, judicial candidates will be able to:

  • Differentiate between the perceptions of the judicial role and the reality;
  • Describe the responsibilities of judges (e.g., from interpreting the law, assessing the evidence presented, controlling hearings and trials, to deciding impartially, mediating and settling disputes, leading court improvement projects, sentencing criminal defendants, terminating parental rights, among others);
  • Summarize the impact of the judicial role on their personal and professional lives;
  • Outline the benefits and drawbacks of taking the bench;
  • Identify the special issues that judges confront (e.g., sentencing defendants; terminating parental rights; deciding difficult cases; being in the public eye during controversial cases; etc.);
  • Define their roles in court administration;
  • Identify the ethical rules that judges are bound by;
  • Apply judicial ethics rules to their circumstances (e.g., restrictions on investments, fundraising, exclusive memberships, professional associations, friendships, bar association activity, family members, gifts, etc.);
  • Manage difficult people including judicial peers, lawyers, self-represented litigants, jurors, court staff, etc.
  • Manage public pressure to decide in certain ways;
  • Summarize the importance of judicial security and methods for keeping safe in courthouses and in their homes; and
  • Serve as trial judges with confidence.

Event Fees

$ 1349.00
Conference Fee
$ 369.00