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Courtroom Efficiency in the 21st Century

Judges who want to help you save time and money will do these three things to improve efficiency: (1) learn and use available technology to its maximum potential; (2) learn and use proven techniques employed by other judges; and (3) keep up with the latest trends in courtroom management. 

Here are some of my ideas for making the court more efficient and productive:

1.   Publish FAQ guidelines and court’s internal operating procedures beyond those in the local rules

2.   Automatic scheduling of deadlines and trial settings for Level I and II cases based upon date of answer

3.   In Level III cases, automatic scheduling of scheduling conference, with a deadline for attorneys to confer and stipulate to uncontested facts and agreed propositions of law before filing of dispositive motions

 4.  Simplify and shorten the process for getting a hearing or trial setting or submission date on motions.

a.  self-scheduling of hearings and submission dates on-line for some matters

b. automatic submission dates for some matters

c. 15 minute docket intervals

5.    Prompt replies from staff to attorney phone calls and emails.

6.    48 hour advance confirmation of sequence and time allowed for court settings

7.    Establish and publish court-approved standard forms for certain motions  to speed up the review process, giving expedited review of motions submitted on approved forms

8.    Establish clear and specific guidelines for attorney obligations to confer on motions in advance of filing, including pre-motion conferences with joint motion for resolution of discovery disputes 

9.     Availability by telephone for pre-motion conference on discovery disputes or disputes that need to be resolved during depositions

10.   Consideration of motions by submission when evidentiary hearing is not required or when evidence can be supplied by filing of uncontroverted written testimony 

11.   Prompt ruling on motions, with published, self-imposed deadlines for ruling

12.   Cross training of staff for docket management, filing, and other administrative tasks so all will be able to schedule matters and answer questions about internal procedures

13.   Actually review and understand motions and briefs filed with the court prior to evidentiary hearings when hearings are required.  

14.  Make rulings on civil matters publicly available so attorneys can review previous rulings in similar matters.

15.   Work to improve jury instructions and definitions so they are easier to understand

 


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