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Lawyers Conference

Judicial Performance Resources

Welcome to the ABA Judicial Division Lawyers Conference resource page for Judicial Performance Evaluations.

It is our hope that this resources within this page will assist you and your state in beginning or enhancing a judicial evaluation program.

The collection of resources includes the HOD approved Guidelines for the Evaluation of Judicial Performance. In addition, we provide articles, reports, frequently asked questions, sample evaluations, links and contacts to states that have judicial performance evaluations.

Also do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested in presentations to advocate for or explain the purpose and need for judicial evaluations. Our goal is to have the best judiciary in the world and it takes the work of us all to accomplish that.


In February 2005, the Judicial Division Lawyers Conference, working in cooperation with the former ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence, submitted to the association House of Delegates a collection of updated guidelines intended to provide a model for the evaluation of judicial performance. The guidelines were overwhelmingly adopted at the 2005 ABA Midyear Meeting.

Model Survey Guidelines

As a follow-up to the adoption of the ABA Guidelines for the Evaluation of Judicial Performance the Lawyer Conference has developed model behavior-based survey instruments for use in the conduct of judicial performance evaluations. The surveys are designed to provide a means of measuring the performance of a judge based on the criteria listed in the Guidelines. Next to each question is the guideline number with which the question is associated.

The survey instruments are provided as models for use in evaluating the performance of judges based on actual behavior and may be used in whole or in part freely for that purpose. You can access the model survey instruments by clicking the appropriate link on this page.

Three critical items must be considered in obtaining information from individuals (other than the judge being evaluated) when using the survey instruments to evaluate judicial performance.

  1. The identity of individual respondents to the survey question must remain confidential. Moreover, how such confidentiality is be maintained and must be made clear to all participants in the evaluation. 
  2. Every effort must be made to obtain information only from individuals who actually observed the judge on the bench, or in the case of staff, in the workplace.
  3. The sampling and selection of respondents, the information collected, and the method of collecting and analyzing responses must comport with scientifically accepted standards.

The surveys were designed with the assistance of David C. Brody, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Washington State University Spokane. Dr. Brody has conducted extensive research and written a number of law review and social scientific articles regarding judicial performance evaluation programs. He is currently working with the King County and Pierce County Bar Associations in implementing judicial performance evaluation programs based largely on the ABA Guidelines for use in the 2008 Superior Court elections. If you have questions about the survey instruments, or developing an evaluation program, Dr. Brody can be contacted at [email protected].

State Links to Judicial Performance Evaluations