Administration of a large urban trial court is challenging. It involves coordination of many judges and large staffs, collaboration with many autonomous justice system agencies and community groups, management of uncertain and complex funding issues with multiple sources of funds, and design and implementation of programs that meet the needs of rapidly growing and changing urban populations. All of these tasks are performed in a fast-paced environment in which court leaders are constantly under pressure from large caseloads and the expectations of litigants, lawyers, justice system partners, state and local legislative bodies, and the media. JMI formed the Urban Court Manager’s Network (UCMN) to address the unique challenges facing large urban courts.
History of the UCMN
The UCMN was formed in 1997, with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, to strengthen the ability of court leaders and managers to work effectively with judges, staff, and key justice system partners, as well as each other, to improve court operations and overall justice system performance. Large urban courts, while relatively few in number, serve a significant portion of the population. There are 3,142 counties in the US, and only 124 have a population of over 500,000, according to U.S. Census estimates as of July 2007. Yet these 124 counties account for 47% of the total population of the country. Improving the management of large urban courts will have a very broad positive impact on justice in America.
The UCMN provides a way for those managing urban trial courts to see new programs, share experiences and ideas, and discuss with their colleagues the unique challenges faced in leading and managing these large, complex organizations. Usually there is only one or a very small number of large trial courts in a state, so the Network provides an opportunity for these leaders to interact with leaders of similar courts in other states. The UCMN objectives are to (1) provide a forum for trial court managers to discuss common issues and opportunities informally, candidly, and in-depth; (2) exchange information about successful and unsuccessful innovations and programs; and (3) provide a voice within the court administration community for those who have experience and expertise in urban trial court management issues. The expectation is that the network members will become better managers as a result of the experiences.
If you are a court administrator or manager in a large urban trial court and would like to be considered for membership in the UCMN, please click on the membership link below to find out more about what membership has to offer.
For information on membership, click here.