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If you couldn’t attend NCSC’s 2017 Fall Events, here’s what you missed…

…Pennsylvania family court Judge Kim Berkeley Clark received the 2017 William H. Rehnquist Award and spoke about the importance of judicial independence at a time when some question the authority and competence of judges at all levels.

…At a “Conversation with the Chief Justices,” the chiefs agreed that technology is changing – and will continue to change – the way state court judges do their jobs. Don Beatty, South Carolina’s chief justice, said, “Technology used to be the road less traveled. Technology, going forward, is the road we must travel. Unfortunately, in South Carolina, we don’t have the money to do it.” The chief justices and the lawyers also said they’ve noticed an erosion of civility among lawyers.

…At the annual recognition luncheon, five people were inducted into the Warren E. Burger Society: retired Utah state court administrator Daniel Becker, Selective Insurance Company of America executive Michael H. Lanza, former president of the American Bar Association, the late William T. "Bill" Robinson III, NCSC long-time manager Brenda Williams, and Jean Hoefer Toal, the first woman to serve on the South Carolina Supreme Court and that court’s first woman chief justice.

…This year’s Justice Roundtable focused on cybersecurity. Monika Bickert, head of product policy and counterterrorism at Facebook, said, “Five and a half years ago, when I started at Facebook, if we identified a terrorist post, we would take it down, but we didn’t have anyone assigned to that. Now we have 150 people – engineers, law enforcement liaisons and others – to combat terrorist groups. But we’ve found that when you take down a terrorist account, they’re going to come right back. …I don’t think the threat we see today is the same as the threat we’ll see tomorrow.”

…The Lawyers Committee Business Meeting featured several interesting presentations, including one by Shawnna Hoffman-Childress, the Watson legal co-leader at IBM, who spoke about artificial intelligence and the practice of law. She said Watson has helped a corporate legal department find $392 million in potential savings, a juvenile court judge in Ohio summarize hundreds of pages of documents in a couple of minutes, the courts in Salt Lake City see patterns and trends, and a court in Indianapolis revise email messages so they receive more positive responses. Also, a representative from the Young Lawyers Committee spoke about how millennials are different than other generations and about how understanding those differences can help lawyers work together more effectively.

NCSC in the news

Eight-State Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative Receives $1 Million Federal Grant

A first-of-its-kind regional judicial effort by states to combat the opioid epidemic is receiving a $1 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.  The $1 million funding was awarded to the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of the RJOI to improve coordination and seek “data-driven responses to prescription drug misuse.”  The RJOI has relied on the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to coordinate the initiative, and will continue to do so through this grant. Read the full story on Court News Ohio.

Calls for Court Reform as Legal Guardians Abuse Older Adults

The National Center for State Courts estimates that guardians across the country supervise 1.3 million adults and an aggregate of $50 billion of their assets. Brenda K. Uekert, the Center’s principal court research consultant, said that with the “aging of the baby boomers and the onset of dementia, we expect those numbers to go up.” Read the full article in the New York Times.


News releases

Long-time Utah state court administrator inducted into Warren E. Burger Society

Daniel Becker, retired Utah state court administrator, is being inducted into the National Center for State Courts’ Warren E. Burger Society. The induction ceremony took place November 16, in Washington, D.C. Read the full press release.

Selective Insurance executive inducted into Warren E. Burger Society

Michael H. Lanza, executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer of Selective Insurance Company of America, is being inducted into the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) Warren E. Burger Society. Read the full press release.