Courts must rely on a deliberate process to determine organizational values, mission, vision, goals, and objectives. SJI promotes structured planning processes and organizational assessments to assist courts in setting priorities, allocating resources, and identifying areas for on-going improvements in efficiency and effectiveness. Strategic planning includes elements of court governance, data collection, management, analysis, sharing; and sustainable court governance models that drive decision-making. Strategic plans and outcomes should be communicated to judges, court staff, justice partners, and the public.
Criminal Caseflow & COVID Backlog Project
The Cowlitz County Superior Court (Washington), with support from the National Center for State Courts, will conduct a study of its criminal court process, particularly to address the backlog of cases and move forward in a manner that ensures a fair and timely resolution of our cases.
Delaware Judicial Branch Strategic Campaign
The Delaware Judicial Branch, with support from the National Center for State Courts, will develop and review its mission and vision statements and develop a strategic campaign for the Branch.
Caseflow Management and Scheduling Study
The 19th Judicial District Court of Louisiana will train court leaders on effective caseflow management practices; interview system participants to include judges, and justice stakeholders; evaluate, and make recommendations regarding caseflow management practices; prepare a report with findings and recommendations; evaluate the judicial resources needed in both the criminal and civil courts; and provide facilitation assistance for the court to embrace caseflow management best practices.
Strategic Campaign and Executive Coaching Project
The 21st Judicial Circuit Court of St. Louis County (Missouri) will create a strategic plan that will incorporate reforms made during the pandemic including, but not limited to using technology to enhance access to justice for the underserved, improve availability of legal information to self-represented litigants, institute a co-occurring treatment court for dual diagnosis individuals, provide coaching and training for judiciary, and administration to improve judicial arena.
Kansas Municipal Court Study
The Kansas Supreme Court will explore and evaluate the current leadership and governance structure, court management to include training, development, and fiscal responsibilities. The project will be conducted in two phases. The initial phase will focus on examining the current structure of the municipal court system in Kansas to determine the current organizational and governance structures and to determine at what level the Court is required to participate in and oversee these structures.
Re-Engineering the People’s Court
The Magistrate Court of Fulton County (Georgia) will devise a strategic plan encompassing all phases of the Court. The Court will utilize data to evaluate and assess its ability to manage heavy caseloads, properly resource our staff, and streamline processes to provide Fulton County residents and general court users a more responsive court experience.
Strategic Planning Initiative
The New Mexico Judicial Council, in partnership with the National Center for State Courts, is conducting a structured organizational strategic assessment and planning process to guide the New Mexico judiciary in setting priorities, allocating resources, and identifying areas for on-going improvements in efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness. A strategic planning process will provide a framework for our courts moving forward in a post-COVID-19 crisis climate with an unexpected, expanded state budget.
The Clark County (Washington) Superior Court governance improvement project builds on the work of the National Center for State Courts project team to study docketing and case management practices that are impacting the Court’s ability to standardize practices and more efficiently administer justice. The goal of the project is to make the regular meetings of judges more productive and devoted to topics that directly impact case management efficiencies.
Weighted Caseload Study
The District of Columbia (DC) Courts are conducting an independent, objective assessment of staffing needs for magistrate judges, law clerks and judicial administrative assistants.
Judicial Branch Strategic Planning Project
The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia is developing and implementing a statewide Judicial Branch Strategic Planning Project. Through this project, the Supreme Court seeks to establish statewide goals and strategies for making system-wide improvements, coordinate innovative programs, increase access to justice, and prepare courts for the future.
Innovating for Effective Service Delivery
The Salt Lake County Justice Court (Utah) is partnering with the National Center for State Courts to develop and set new guideposts for ensuring the fair and efficient resolution of cases in a permanently hybrid environment as a result of practices implemented during the pandemic. The planning process will include an examination of critical court governance, management, and calendaring decisions.
Caseflow Management Project
The Oregon Court of Appeals will develop a case management process, to include screening and case weighting, toward the end of equitably distributing the workload and managing the time spent on particular cases in accordance with weight. The project will also include the development of a transition plan to move the court from current practices to a managed workflow.
Strategic Court Facility Plan
The First Circuit Court of Hillsdale County (Michigan) court building does not meet accepted modern-day standards and criteria, which include space adequacy, safety and security, functional adjacency and circulation, accessibility, technology systems, and building environmental and structural systems. The Court will undertake a strategic court facility planning process to identify needed improvements that will help to ensure the effective, fair, and safe administration of justice for visitors and users of the Hillsdale County Courthouse.
Board of Judicial Policy and Administration Task Force
The Wyoming Supreme Court created a task force to improve governance and to implement systemic improvements in the operation of the courts. The task force focuses on attracting and retaining qualified judges; well-being of judges and court staff; dealing with self-represented litigant needs; ensuring qualified counsel exist to resolve matters; and exploring the possibility of establishing specialty courts, including a family court. With support from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), the Court will implement the strategic/operational plan.
Planning for the Future of Yavapai County Superior Court
The Superior Court in Yavapai County is working with Praxis Consulting to plan for the future of the Court. The Court’s leadership, in collaboration with community and justice system partners, will reimagine and transform how court services are delivered and develop a roadmap and strategies for making continued improvements.
Wyoming Judicial Branch Compensation/Salary Study
The Wyoming Judicial Branch does not have a compensation plan with accompanying pay tables. Courts throughout the State are losing employees to higher paying jobs. In order to request additional salary funding from the Legislature, the Branch needs salary data obtained from a reliable source. The Branch is working with the National Center for State Courts to establish pay tables and develop a compensation policy and procedures for all Branch positions, excluding justices and judges.
Strategic Planning for the Future of the 16th Judicial Circuit Court and Broader Justice System
The Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court in Kane County, Illinois, is planning for the future of the Court and justice system. By collaborating with its justice system partners, they will build consensus of priorities in order to develop and implement a strategic plan that meets their needs and that of the County Board and drives continued court and justice system improvements. In consultation with Praxis Consulting, the Court’s leadership and justice system partners (including the Circuit Court Clerk, State’s Attorney, Public Defender, and Sheriff) will develop strategic priorities and recommendations and will present improvement requests to the County Board.
Nevada Judiciary Strategic Planning Campaign
The Nevada Judiciary is creating a strategic planning campaign with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). The project includes data gathering via survey and focus groups, developing and facilitating a strategic planning workshop, developing a strategic campaign document, and executing the campaign.
Organizational Assessment of the South Dakota Unified Judicial System
The South Dakota Unified Judicial System is assessing its current organizational structure and developing a set of recommendations that document the strengths, potential risks, and the opportunities for improvement to enhance performance.
Convening County, Court & Justice Leaders: A Framework for Cross-System Collaboration
Rulo Strategies, the National Association of Counties, and Praxis Consulting are supporting court and county leaders as they partner to establish local strategic priorities for justice and public safety and align resources. Ten communities will be selected to participate in this pilot initiative and serve as model sites. A site liaison will assist each community in identifying and prioritizing local criminal justice activities based on a shared understanding of the community’s needs and evidence-based practices. Lessons learned from the ten sites will be highlighted in a final publication, and a tool kit will be available to other communities that seek to replicate this planning effort. The ten selected sites are:
- Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville, Virginia
- Berrien County, Michigan
- Cambria County, Pennsylvania
- Cuyahoga County, Ohio
- Gallatin County, Montana
- Lake County, Colorado
- Mesa County, Colorado
- Navajo County, Arizona
- Potter County, Pennsylvania
- Rockdale County, Georgia
Phase 2 of this project will highlight non-traditional county or community partners that are supporting the work courts and counties are engaged in through a peer court exchange with two sites, a podcast series, and conference presentations. Additional court strategic planning tools will also be developed.
Planning for the Future and Building Unity Among Michigan Courts
The Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) is working with PRAXIS Consulting, Inc. to develop and implement a statewide, judicial strategic plan in Michigan. The plan will create a unified vision for the future, build agreement around priorities, develop innovative and comprehensive strategies for making system-wide improvements, and coordinate many innovations resulting from recent reforms. Project work includes coordinating with stakeholders and judicial partners to create a unified vision for our courts, building agreement around priorities, and developing comprehensive strategies for system-wide improvements.
District Court Workload Assessment
The Montana Supreme Court partnered with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to conduct a comprehensive workload assessment of the district courts in Montana. The Montana Supreme Court and District Court Council have relied on the use of a weighted caseload model to establish the baseline needs of trial court judicial resources. The weighted caseload formula enables the Judiciary to not only determine how much judicial time is needed for certain types of cases but was also one of the key data sources used by the Montana Legislature. The workload study is a key component of how judicial resources are managed and the outcome of this project will recommend a final set of judicial workload standards.
Piloting the Civil Case Management Team Model
The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is partnering with the Iowa Judicial Branch and the Kansas Judicial Branch to provide an educational workshop on the implementation of the Civil Case Management Team (CCMT) staffing model for civil and family courts. The workshop will provide an interactive experience in which courts will learn about the CCMT, implementation strategies, and develop strategic implementation plans for their respective courts.
Organizational and Management Structure Assessment
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals is partnering with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to assess the following components of its business operations: 1) case flow management; 2) organizational and staffing management; 3) Committee on Admissions; 4) data collection and performance measurement; 5) use of technology; and 6) access to justice enhancements. The NCSC review and make recommendations on the simplification of forms and orders, provide a final report with recommendations, and prepare an Appellate Court Reengineering Handbook that can be shared with the broader court community.
Improve Caseflow and Calendar Management
The Stanislaus County, California, Superior Court partnered with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to review current case flow and calendaring practices as they compare to best practices by other courts within California and across the U.S. The assessment included: 1) evaluating and comparing existing case flow and calendaring processes in the context of best practices; 2) examining the Court’s specialty court calendars and explore expanding the use and number of these dockets; 3) reviewing the Court’s scheduling and assignment of cases involving mental health issues, and whether the Court should create a mental health calendar; 4) reviewing how the Court can best supervise defendants with mental health conditions who receive pre-plea diversion into a treatment program; 5) reviewing how the Court can best monitor the status of defendants evaluated for competency to stand trial; and 6) reviewing the impact on the Court of new legislation to enable the purge of marijuana convictions. The report containing final recommendations will enable the applicant to restructure its calendar and case flow practices to improve processes and reduce unnecessary delay.
Implementing the Judicial Branch’s Strategic Agenda: An Implementation Approach to Long-Term Sustainability
The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts is restructuring the Illinois Judicial Conference and assigning it a new and specific responsibility: formulating a strategic plan to guide the future of the Judicial Branch. The Judicial Conference has identified five strategic goals to be addressed in a three-year strategic agenda together with strategies designed to achieve each of these strategic goals. Implementation of strategies these strategies will allow judicial officers, court personnel, and justice partners to come together to think beyond day-to-day problems, allocate and use limited resources, and sustain internal and external cooperation and collaboration to improve the delivery of justice and better serve the public.
Planning for the Future of the Court
The 41B District Court of Michigan is partnering with Praxis Consulting, Inc. to conduct a strategic planning process that will enable the Court to prepare for the future and build a collective vision based on agreed upon goals and strategies. The strategic plan will include: 1) a mission and vision for the Court; 2) an analysis of current and future trends and implications for the Court; 3) an organizational readiness assessment that includes strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities; 4) strategic focus areas and short and long-term goals; and 5) first-year priorities for implementation.
Strategic Planning Project
The Berrien County, Michigan, Trial Court partnered with Praxis Consulting, Inc. to develop a strategic direction and plan to guide improvements that will enhance services, performance, and work culture. The project provided an opportunity to think and plan strategically about the Court’s future, develop long-term goals and objectives, and enhance court performance. The project enabled the Court to 1) work through the loss of institutional knowledge due to turnover; 2) instill creative and innovative thinking; 3) involve and engage judges and staff in making improvements; and 4) enhance buy-in to new ways of doing business and serving the public.