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Retired Maryland state court administrator trailblazer receives national Warren E. Burger Award

Molly Justice
Director of Communications & Online Media
(757) 259-1564

Retired Maryland state court administrator trailblazer receives national Warren E. Burger Award

Williamsburg, Va. (May 3) -- Retired Maryland State Court Administrator Pamela Q. Harris has been named the Warren E. BurgerPamela Q. Harris Award for Excellence in Court Administration recipient by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).

"During her tenure as State Court Administrator, she worked for three state Supreme Court of Maryland Chief Justices and led Maryland through a historic period of modernization, innovation, and safe navigation of operations during a global pandemic," wrote Maryland Chief Justice Matthew Fader and State Court Administrator Judy Rupp. "Her experiences supporting and assisting state courts have been no less than heroic during these years."

Decades of dedicated service

In 1979, Harris began her over 40-year career in the court system as a deputy clerk. In 1990, she became the first female court administrator for the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, one of Maryland's largest and busiest circuit courts. After holding the position for 23 years, she became the first woman to lead Maryland's state court system in 2013 and served for 10 years until her retirement.

"I can attest to her brilliance, tenacity, and commitment to delivering the best support to the courts throughout Maryland," said Mary Ellen Barbera, retired chief judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, who appointed Harris in 2013.

Harris was nominated for her achievements in governance, education, and technology. Her impressive list of contributions spans a wide range of court improvements throughout her distinguished career.

Progressive court innovator

As state court administrator, she oversaw significant technology initiatives. She helped double state financial support for court innovations and services throughout the state, including the deployment of the Maryland Electronic Courts and the development of the judiciary's statewide information technology division.

Additionally, Harris played a key role in developing a strategic plan for the Maryland Judiciary and establishing the Maryland Judicial Council to supervise its successful implementation. She was also instrumental in creating the Maryland Judicial College, which provides education and training opportunities for judicial officers, magistrates, and court employees statewide.

National leader

At NCSC, Harris contributed by serving on the Board of Directors and leading initiatives within the Conference of State Court Administrators related to security and emergency preparedness, court statistics, and technology.

Harris is a certified Fellow of the Institute for Court Management (ICM) at NCSC. She has extensive experience teaching national programs related to ethics, leadership, and differentiated case management.

The Warren E. Burger Award for Excellence in Court Administration is named for the late chief justice of the United States, who was instrumental in founding NCSC and its Institute for Court Management.