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July 15, 2022 National Conference of State Trial Judges

NCSTJ Chair's Column

By Hon. David M. Connors, Farmington, UT

We are now in the middle of the summer and looking forward to gathering in person in Chicago for the upcoming Annual Meeting. As you all know, we have been through another year of ups and downs related in large part to the prolonged pandemic. Our Midyear Meeting in February was expected to be in person, but at the last minute was converted to a virtual meeting due to the then troublesome uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases nationwide.

I am assured that the Annual Meeting will go forward in person in a few weeks. We’ll all keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. Please consider joining us if you can make it to Chicago. The National Conference of State Trial Judges holds its annual business meetings during the ABA’s Annual Meeting. Among other things we will, at the end of our meetings, turn over the reins to our incoming leadership group, led by Judge Vivian L. Medinilla of the Delaware Superior Court as the new Chair, with Judge Marcella Holland of Maryland as our new Chair-Elect and Judge Denise Langford-Morris of Michigan as our new Vice-Chair. During the Annual Meeting we also organize an NCSTJ dinner, which is, by general acclaim, heralded as one of the most enjoyable events related to the ABA’s Annual Meeting. Details are available in the registration materials for the Annual Meeting.

As always, our NCSTJ members will form the backbone of the volunteer corps of judges who serve the community with outreach efforts to local public high schools during the day and to the local bar and law students during the evening presentations. These efforts are organized by the JD's Standing Committee on Diversity in the Judiciary (chaired by our own Judge Marcella Holland) and happen on the Wednesday just before the commencement of the Annual Meeting (this year it will be Wednesday, August 3). I have had the privilege of volunteering as part of this program for over a dozen years now and I strongly encourage anyone to participate with this tremendous outreach effort.  Please contact [email protected] if you would like to volunteer on August 3 or would like to receive more information.

Speaking of the Standing Committee on Diversity in the Judiciary, during the recent Midyear Meeting the Judicial Division received a special Diversity Champion Award from the ABA’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, primarily due to the work of the Diversity Committee. Congratulations to all who have helped promote and develop these important outreach efforts over the years.

This past April, our NCSTJ Executive Committee was able to gather in Charleston, SC, for a planning meeting to begin the process of planning for the upcoming ABA year, which starts upon the conclusion of the Annual Meeting in August. As the soon-to-be incoming Chair, Judge Medinilla led this meeting. Chief Judge James Lockemy of the South Carolina Court of Appeals (a former chair of the NCSTJ while he was serving as a trial court judge) hosted a wonderful tour of the city and a special tour of The Citadel, which is located in Charleston. Our business meetings were intense, but satisfying, and we all look forward to a wonderful year ahead of us.

We have recently learned of another special step being taken by one of our own. At the end of this calendar year, Judge Linda Bell, Immediate Past Chair of the NCSTJ, will become a justice of the Nevada Supreme Court. We all believe the citizens of Nevada are very fortunate to have a jurist of Judge Bell’s caliber serving on their highest court. Congratulations, Linda!

In parting, since this will be my final column as Chair, I want to thank you again for allowing me to serve as part of the leadership of the National Conference of State Trial Judges. It is a true honor to be associated with this dedicated and tireless group of state trial judges. You are the heart and soul of our judicial system and I applaud your constant efforts to promote justice and equity for all. Thank you for all that you do.

With sincerest appreciation,
Dave Connors

David M. Connors

2021-2022 Chair, National Conference of State Trial Judges

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