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February 16, 2024 National Conference of State Trial Judges

NCSTJ Chair's Column

By Hon. Marcella Holland, Baltimore, MD

Since you will receive this message in February, let me wish you belated holiday greetings and hope that they were spent with family and friends and were safe and enjoyable. Given the nature of events in the last several months in this country and in the world, let us all, in our own way, pray or wish for more unity and peace in this new year.

The ABA Midyear Meeting was January 31-Feb. 5, 2024, in Louisville, KY. The NCSTJ Executive Committee and its standing committees worked hard in making plans for another successful and fun meeting. On January 31, we joined members of other JD conferences and lawyers in our Diversity Day activities, starting with a mid-day visit to two schools where we engaged students in discussions on the Constitution, rule of law and democracy issues. Later that evening, we attended a Path to the Bench program with young lawyers and law students in the Louisville area at a local law school. 

A highlight of every Midyear Meeting is the Judicial Clerkship Program which began February 1. Ninety-four law students from 21 law schools around the country came to Louisville for a 2-1/2 days program designed to encourage law students from diverse backgrounds who do not know what it is like to clerk for a judge, do not believe they can clerk for a judge or for various other reasons believe that it will not be possible. The students heard from a panel of appellate court judges, got their resumes reviewed, and most importantly interacted with judges, pretending to be clerks for a Supreme Court Justice, using a created court case based on a real undecided case from the Supreme Court. The students researched and found the actual case, then discussed with the other “clerks” and the judge the position the Justice should take. They also wrote an outline for the “Justice’s” use in drafting the opinion. The students were required to interact and network with members of all conferences of the Judicial Division at other social events.

Your Executive Committee and our standing committees have been hard at work on plans for recruiting new members and retaining our current members; planning webinars; monitoring and planning outreach activities; planning diversity programs; and weighing in on resolutions and commenting on other JD or ABA initiatives. There is still room for more judges to be involved in the important work of the NCSTJ. Once you see how rewarding all of our programs and activities are, and what a collegial group we are, I am sure you will want to join us more often at our Annual and Midyear meetings. We invite you to sign up for one or more of our committees, or contact our staff person, Amy Dasgupta.

Hon. Marcella Holland

2023-2024 Chair, National Conference of State Trial Judges

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