I am honored and pleased to serve as the Chair of the ABA Judicial Division’s National Conference of State Trial Judges (NCSTJ) for this 2023-2024 year. NCSTJ continues to focus on the current needs of our members, providing useful programs, activities, and tools to help them in their judicial careers and in reaching out to the larger community of law students, lawyers, judges, and the public on issues of importance to justice and democracy.
Once again it was a pleasure to meet in-person and see so many of our members. Our conference is a very collegial one and we enjoy learning from each other and other esteemed members of the bar and judiciary. But we also like to reminisce, catch up on current events in our lives and, of course, have some fun. We did all of that at 2023 ABA Annual Meeting. Many, many thanks to our outgoing Chair, Judge Vivian Medinilla, who led us through last year’s successful programs all the while caring for elderly parents and having them both pass away during her year. Despite the challenges in her personal life, she took the time to carry out our business with aplomb and to mentor me for my chairmanship. I hope to continue to lead in her steady, caring, and unflappable manner. Thanks also to my now Chair-Elect, Judge Denise Langford-Morris for her continuing support and in particular her planning of our Town Hall Meeting. Kudos also to our new Vice Chair, Judge Marguerite Downing, who was and will continue to chair our Membership Committee. As a result of her leadership, NCSTJ won the membership challenge this past bar year, increasing our membership more than any other conference in the Judicial Division. Our members are to be congratulated for their continuing efforts to bring new judges into our conference. Thanks also to Judge Margaret Masunaga of Hawaii, who was our conference’s Secretary. She continues to be our liaison to the Judges Journal and is now Chair of the Judges Journal Editorial Board.