WEBINAR: How to Exercise Judicial Leadership Power Wisely in Transforming Trial Courts

This webinar, originally presented on March 31, 2022, presents an interesting, thought-provoking discussion for court leaders and their leadership teams with practical ideas and methods to improve leadership skills and results.

Trial court chief and presiding judges have considerable power to promote change, but they often do not fully use it. This webinar explores the various dimensions of the formal and informal leadership power held by top judicial leaders, their hesitancy to use it, structural barriers in exerting it, and ways to effectively harness their power for positive change. 

Institutional disincentives many times work to constrain judicial leadership potential. Short judge-leader term limits, cumbersome selection methods, collegiality requirements, and a lack of interest in leadership roles are among the most common impediments. 

Organizational challenges endemic to courts as loosely-coupled organizations create natural tensions between judges as professionals who must operate with high-levels of autonomy and courtwide needs for efficiency that encourage greater levels of coherence and uniformity. Learning to manage such that environment in a participative, collaborative way is an immense challenge for judge-leaders, and is rarely supported by training or mentoring. 

Resistance to change, common within all workplaces, needs to be addressed responsibly, too. When this resistance produces well-intended debate, criticism, and disagreement on the merits, it can play a useful role in producing better understanding, as well as additional options and solutions. When the resistance is couched in unfounded fears, hostility, misinformation, or a passive-aggressive complacent mindset, it can scuttle the best of initiatives. 


  • Hon. Roxanne Bailin (ret.), Chief Judge, 20th Judicial District Court of Colorado; Special Consultant, National Center for State Courts (Boulder) 


  • Hon. Joseph C. Welty, Presiding Judge, Arizona Judicial Branch in Maricopa County (Phoenix) 
  • Raymond L. Billotte, Judicial Branch Administrator, Arizona Judicial Branch in Maricopa County (Phoenix) 
  • Patti Tobias, Principal Court Mgmt. Consultant; former Idaho State Court Administrator, National Center for State Courts (Denver) 
  • Hon. Toddrick Barnette, Chief Judge, 4th Judicial District Court of Minnesota in Hennepin County (Minneapolis) 
  • Gordon Griller, Executive Director; former Trial Court CEO & National Center Consultant, National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers (NAPCO)