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Leading during a Crisis

When things are going well, it’s pretty easy being a court leader. Operations are going according to plan, caseloads are managed reasonably well, and there are no tricky decisions to make about work assignments, services, staff or budgets. It is still possible to screw things up, but a rising tide tends to lift all boats, or in our case, all court leaders. It is in a crisis that leaders show their mettle. Judges and staff will look to leaders for direction. Sometimes, as with the covid-19 pandemic, the problem will be something few bosses could have reasonably anticipated. Now, they are expected to chart a steady course within days as the crisis continues to unfold.

Existing Guides to Operations and Legal Issues during a Pandemic Useful Tools for Trial Court Leaders

Through an SJI grant, a Pandemic and Emergency Response Task Force was created in December 2014, to help courts better prepare for the complex legal issues that public health crises present. Two years later, a report and guide by the National Center for State Courts entitled “Preparing for a Pandemic: An Emergency Response Benchbook and Operations Guidebook for State Judges and Court Administrators” was published.

Training for nonlawyers to provide legal advice will start in Arizona in the fall

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law has started a two-year pilot project that licenses a small group of nonlawyers to give limited legal advice on civil matters stemming from domestic violence. The individuals will be known as licensed legal advocates and trained to provide legal advice on topics including protective orders, divorce, child custody, consumer protection and housing, according to a Monday news release.