By Gordon Griller, NAPCO Executive Director
As a new trial court leadership / improvement organization on the national scene, NAPCO’s first three annual conferences – Cleveland (2016), Phoenix (2017), and St. Louis (2018) – appear to be well received based on assessments by presiding judges, court executives, and others who’ve attended. Overall, each of these events were ranked “good to excellent” by 96% or more of those completing an internet evaluation after each conference.
Each 3-day annual event has followed the same successful format. Initially, a one-day plenary Leadership Academy takes place which is focused on skills training for top court leaders, essentially presiding judges and court executive officers as productive pairs. The National Center for State Courts has worked with NAPCO in developing and presenting these sessions. Nationally recognized leadership experts, familiar with judicial and justice systems, present the latest in leadership methods, together with hands-on exercises and hypotheticals to help provide presiding judges and court executives with insights on effective decision-making and building high-performing leadership teams. Judicial and management court leaders beyond the PJ and CEO are encouraged to attend as well.
Academy Day received “good to excellent” rankings by 100% of those evaluating their experience in Cleveland where the Center for Applied Research (CFAR), a leadership consultancy affiliated with the Wharton School of Management at the University of Pennsylvania, presented a program on decision-making for top court officials; by 93% of those grading the plenary program in Scottsdale where CFAR reviewed the latest thinking and techniques on ways to successfully implement change in loosely-coupled organizations like courts, hospitals and universities; and by 93% in St. Louis where attendees learned from experts how to lead leaders (i.e. judges, justice system stakeholders), who generally operate autonomously, through the power of negotiation.
The second and third days of each conference are devoted to a series of Workshops and Seminars covering an array of different cutting-edge trial court programs and management topics. Subjects have ranged from succession planning to judicial workloads to best practices in responding to self-represented litigants. Over the past three conferences, “good to excellent’ rankings for these presentations have ranged from 91% in Cleveland, to 92% in Scottsdale, and 97% in St. Louis.
In developing each new conference, planners review all suggestions made by conferees, including ideas and comments regarding past conferences. In doing so, NAPCO is committed to advance excellence in leadership, team-building, and performance at all levels of trial courts. We are happy to partner with the National Center for State Courts and other professional court associations to build relevant and impactful learning experiences for court leaders. NAPCO’s Fourth Annual Leadership Academy and Conference will be held in Minneapolis in 2019. Our host is the Fourth Judicial District of Minnesota in Hennepin County. We hope to see you there.