Herding Lions: Shared Leadership of State Trial Courts

Herding Lions: Shared Leadership of State Trial Courts

State court reformers in most states achieved greater standardization and centralization of court governance but in the process left behind significant tensions between local courts and the state-wide court administration. In Herding Lions, retired Arizona Judge Barbara Mundell and Texas Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson put forward an approach based on recognition of the collective responsibility of all courts within a state for the quality of justice administered. They urge that leadership be shared across the different levels of court structure and that local innovation be encouraged and, where effective, replicated statewide.

Barbara Rodriguez Mundell was appointed to the bench of the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County, in 1989. She heard all case types during her tenure and retired in May, 2010. Immediately prior to her retirement, she served a 5-term as the Presiding Judge for all trial courts in the county.

Wallace Jefferson was appointed Chief Justice of Texas in September 2004, having served on the Court since 2001. He served in 2010-11 as President of the Conference of Chief Justices and as Chair of the National Center for State Courts Board of Directors. He is the namesake for the Wallace B. Jefferson Middle School in San Antonio.

More videos on the Harvard Executive Session are available here.


The Executive Session develops and answers questions that U.S. state courts will face in the foreseeable future, attempting to clarify what leaders of state courts can and should do to distinguish their role in our system of democratic governance.