Elements of Judicial Excellence

A Framework to Support the Professional Development of State Trial Court Judges

The Elements of Judicial Excellence framework is a first-of-its-kind resource for judges, mentors, educators, and state court leaders who support and seek to enhance their state systems of judicial professional development.

Developed with support from the State Justice Institute and NCSC, it provides information about the general types of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics that judges themselves believe are important to judicial excellence, as well as recommended strategies to support professional growth.

The Elements of Judicial Excellence (see graphic below) is based on the views of Illinois state Circuit Court and associate judges as shared with project staff through over 100 hours of interviews, 24 hours of focus group discussions, and follow-up surveys with all participants.

Infographic showing elements of the Judicial Excellence Framework


Elements of Judicial Excellence Final Report cover image 

Project final report. The complete project final report provides an overview of the framework and its development, explains how the framework can be appropriately used, identifies key lessons learned from the project experience, and describes several potential research directions. The report includes a technical appendix on data collection (Appendix A) and, importantly, the Elements of Judicial Excellence framework document (Appendix B). The complete report is available at www.ncsc.org/judicialexcellencereport.

Elements of Judicial Excellence Framework cover image

Elements of Judicial Excellence framework. A PDF of the framework only (Appendix B of the project final report) is available at www.ncsc.org/judicialexcellenceframework.