Leadership/Change Management Resource Guide

Mark your calendar

  • ICM course explores judicial branch of government. Participants in the ICM course, Purposes and Responsibilities of Courts, will explore the foundations of the third branch of government and assess whether their courts are performing as the Founding Fathers intended.  The course will be held in Atlanta, GA from October 20-22, 2020.
  • ICM course focuses on court leadership. Leaders have evolved into quick-change artists who inspire, communicate a vision, and master today’s workforce and work environment.  This Leadership course takes place in Chicago, IL from October 14-16, 2020.  Participants will acquire the knowledge and skills of leadership as a core competency, while exploring their own readiness to be in a leadership role.
  • National Association of Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers (NAPCO) Annual Conference. The National Association of Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers (NAPCO) Annual Conference will be held in Boston, MA August 23-26, 2020 at the Omni Parker House.  Questions: contact Nikiesha Cosby.

    The NAPCO is an independent, nonprofit, education and research organization of chief/presiding judges and court executives in state and local trial courts.

    Court systems require effective leadership and management practices to respond to important issues, such as public trust and confidence, court and community collaboration, and timeliness and consistency. The demand for increased services from courts, along with proper strategic planning and team building, can be more easily forecasted and implemented when sound leadership, planning, and organizational change management are in place.

Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.

Featured Links

  • Future Trends. (2018). Knowledge and Information Services. To help courts think proactively about the future, the National Center for State Courts examined five trends and potential disrupters across the spectrum of technology, politics, economics, and social demographics based on their potential to impact or disrupt society and the court community.
  • Court Leadership: Harvard Executive Session for State Court Leaders in the 21st Century, 2008-2011. (2011).
    Through its six meetings over three years, the Executive Session set out to both develop and answer 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.
  • Clarke, Thomas M. and Victor E. Flango. Case Triage for the 21st Century. (2011). Future Trends in State Courts. Differentiated case management was a distinct advance in the effort to reduce court delay. Here the next step in the evolution of case management—a more refined triage based upon issues raised rather than case type, a larger role for litigant choice, and the best use of scarce resources—is previewed.
  • Robinson III, Wm. T. (Bill). Criminal Justice Reforms Enhance Public Safety and Strengthen Our Courts. (2012). Future Trends in State Courts. After decades of increasingly harsh penalties for those who commit misdemeanor crimes, a nationwide groundswell of support for criminal justice reforms may refocus law enforcement and court resources toward more serious offenses and more effective rehabilitation, and have the effect of saving money for our courts.
  • Burke, Hon. Kevin S. Leadership Without Fear. (2012). Future Trends in State Courts. To achieve excellence, our courts need strong leaders, and authentic leaders do not fear failure, but solve problems by creating initiatives and taking risks.  Through leadership without fear, they motivate and engage those around them, create a culture of trust, and build legitimacy for the institution as a whole.
  • Hall, Daniel J. Principles of Judicial Administration: The Lens of Change. (2011). Future Trends in State Courts. Courts nationwide are making do with fewer resources even in the face of rising caseloads. A set of principles is needed to guide the courts as they restructure their operations in the face of budget challenges.
  • Ostrom, Brian J., Matthew Kleiman, and Roger A. Hanson. The High Performance Court Framework. (2011). Future Trends in State Courts. This article highlights essential aspects of a recent publication by the National Center for State Courts, Achieving High Performance: A Framework for Courts. The objective is to summarize the Framework’s concepts, identify their practical significance for judges and administrators, and connect the Framework to the larger, continuing trend of court reform.
  • Linhares, Gregory J. Vision, Function, and the Kitchen Sink: The Evolving Role of the State Court Administrator. (2012). Future Trends in State Courts. How has the role of the state court administrator changed over the years?  In addition to handling their day-to-day administrative responsibilities and other duties that come their way, state court administrators must also have a vision of how the justice system could be improved.
  • Court Reengineering. An NCSC Area of Expertise. Grants from SJI and BJA have enabled NCSC to identify and develop the steps and processes that courts should take in order to succeed in their reengineering efforts.
  • Different Work: A First Course in Effective Supervision. Different Work: A First Course in Effective Supervision is an eLearning course offered by the Institute of Court Management .  The course is ongoing.
  • National Conference of Metropolitan Courts. A two and one-half day seminar is taught by chief judges and court executives led by Gordon Griller, Director of Trial Court Leadership Programs at the Institute for Court Management.
  • An International Framework for Court Excellence. Presentation from the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the National Court Technology Conference .  Reviews the use of the Framework in technology planning.
  • Technology as a Driver of Innovation: The Minnesota Experience. Presentation from the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the National Court Technology Conference. An international perspective on how IT can support judicial reform and accountability.
  • Using Technology to Train a State Judiciary. Presentation from the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the National Court Technology Conference.  Effectively delivering the best training and education to meet the business needs for courts.

Leadership in the Courts

  • Mundell, Barbara Rodriguez and Wallace B. Jefferson. Herding Lions: Shared Leadership of State Trial Courts. (2012). Executive Session for State Court Leaders in the 21st Century. This paper explores some of the underlying points of tension between state supreme courts and local trial courts, ultimately positing a "shared leadership" model to leverage local court innovation in states where the judicial function is highly dispersed. Central to this discussion is the overarching need to maintain prompt and affordable court services amidst economic uncertainty and reduced resources.
  • Durham, Christine and Daniel Becker. A Case for Court Governance Principles: Perspectives on State Court Leadership. (2012). Executive Session for State Court Leaders in the 21st Century. This paper proposes a set of principles for governing state court systems that is intended to begin a dialogue about how court governance can best be enhanced to meet current and future challenges. The principles outlined in this paper were developed by re-examining what courts, as institutions, need to do internally to meet their responsibilities.
  • Laurence H. Tribe. Keynote Address: Annual Meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators. (2011). Future Trends in State Courts 2011. This article addresses the Conference of Chief Justice and the Conference of State Court Administrators challenging them to take up the task of improving the justice system by being committed to making changes to fix it.
  • Michael L. Buenger. The Need for Solid Court Leadership: Reflections on the Fourth National Symposium on Court Management. (2011). Future Trends in State Courts 2011. What must the courts do to adjust to the changing realities of an increasingly complex world? The answer requires establishing a well-defined governance structure; providing a uniform message not only to the other branches of government, but also to the public; and forging positive relationships both inside and outside of courts.
  • Gordon M. Griller. Governing Loosely Coupled Courts in Times of Economic Stress. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010. This article discusses how difficult financial times are giving rise to changes to trial court governance, forcing a new blend of centralized and decentralized decision making not widely experienced in the past.  For some, recognizing and skillfully using these new approaches in leading trial courts might mean the difference between adapting well to these tough times or not.
  • Gordon M. Griller. New Dimensions in Court Leadership. (2008). Future Trends in State Courts 2008. For nearly decades, the national community of courts has struggled to develop curricula to train an ever-changing cadre of court leaders.  Today, budding programs on the national and local scene hold great promise to teach new knowledge about leadership and help people grow in the ability to exercise judgment and skill in applying that knowledge.
  • Ostrom, Brian, Charles Ostrom, Roger Hanson, and Matthew Kleiman. Trial Courts as Organizations. (2007). Temple University Press. The authors examine how courts operate, what characteristics they may display, and how they function as a unit to preserve judicial independence, strengthen organizational leadership, and influence court performance. They identify four different types of institutional cultures using a systematic analysis of alternative values on how work is done. Accordingly, the authors find judges and administrators prefer a definite pattern of different cultures, called a "mosaic," to guide how their courts operate in the future.
  • Key Elements of an Effective Rule of Court on the Role of the Presiding judge in Trial Courts. (2006). The purpose of this document is to provide a basis from which judicial councils, presiding judges, and court administrators could work to strengthen the effectiveness of the executive team in court management. These Key Elements primarily contain the prospective elements of a state-level rule of court."
  • Burke, Kevin S. and Michael Labrosse. Moving from Court Management to Court Leadership. (2006). Court Manager 21, Number 1, page 17 . This article includes a set of recommendations on how modern courts can improve their systems of court management.
  • Core Competency Curriculum Guidelines: What Court Leaders Need to Know and Be Able to Do. (2004). National Association for Court Management. This "set of educational tools and guidelines is helping court managers come to grips with what they need to know and be able to do to meet the needs and functions of their court and professional organization." (KF8732 A15 C685).
  • Rottman, David, Hillery Efkeman, Randall Hansen, and Shelley Stump. A Leadership Guide to Statewide Court and Community Collaboration. (2002). 133 pages. The practice of statewide collaboration is evolving; thus this Leadership Guide reflects a varied and evolving field of opinion and practice.
  • Stupak, Ronald J. Court Managers as Leaders: An Active Strategy for Understanding and Using Power. (2001). Court Manager 16, Number 2, page 19. A short article which discusses the use of power under the definition of an energy to initiate and sustain action. The rest of the article is devoted to outlining tools for the usage and implementation of power, such as dividing up responsibilities between high-level, mid-level, and first-line supervisors. (KF8732 A15 C685).
  • Getting From Clobberation to Collaboration-The Importance of Judicial Leadership. (2001). Florida Courts. Five-page outline on the role of judicial leadership in ensuring that the court's role in service coordination is acknowledged and accepted.
  • Wagenknecht-Ivey, Brenda J. Continuous Quality Improvement in the Courts: A Practitioners Handbook. (1998). Denver, CO: Center for Public Policy Studies. A vast handbook discussing how a person who has met a change in their court system should deal with these changes. This includes large sections on Constate Quality Improvement - the goal of the court reformer. Two examples of court striving for this goal in Maryland and Ohio are given as examples of cases in which constant change  had been implemented, and are shown to give examples of possible future reaction to change. (KF8732 W34).
  • Core Competency Curriculum Guidelines -- Leadership. National Association for Court Management. Outlines 5 guidelines for effective leadership and management of court systems.
  • Zoglio, Suzanne Willis. Seven Keys to Building Great Work Teams. Outlines 7 common elements of high-performing groups which leaders must understand in order to successfully implement team strategy.

Change Management

  • John A. Clarke and Bryan D. Borys. Usability Is Free: Improving Efficiency by Making the Court More User Friendly. (2011). Future Trends in State Courts 2011. Court managers will need a broader array of serivce-delivery strategies as courts face increasing demands and fewer resources. The standard solution, to hire more staff as intermediaries, is becoming increasingly infeasible, and the user-friendly court, relying more on court users to participate in service delivery, will become a more important strategy.
  • Jessica S. Henry. New Jersey's Road to Abolition. (2008). Justice System Journal 29, no.3. This article examines multiple converging factors that contributed to abolition, including the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision making in capital cases, public-opinion data, political conditions, and the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission hearings and report.
  • Terry Nafisi. One Hundred Years Since Pound: Has Court Reform Mattered?. (2006). Justice System Journal 28, no.2. This interview with three court administration leaders, Alexander B. Aikman, Geoff Gallas, and Russell Wheeler, reviews the accomplishments of court reform since Roscoe Pound's speech launched the court reform movement.
  • Ostrom, Brian, Roger Hanson, and Matthew Kleiman. Examining Court Culture. (2005). Caseload Highlights, Volume 11, Number 2. This report focuses on how the theory and measurement of court culture provides a framework for conducting business.
  • Hall, Daniel, Jan Stromsem, and Richard Hoffman. Professional Court Administration: The Key to Judicial Independence. (2003). Article reviews successful efforts in the countries of Latin America in establishing independent judiciaries.
  • Steelman, David. Trial Court Administration and Management in State Courts: Viewing Arkansas in a National Context. (2002). Issues in trial court administration arising from an amendment to the Arkansas constitution that merged multiple trial courts into a two-tier system with one general-jurisdiction circuit court and one limited-jurisdiction district court.
  • Aikman, Alexander. Total Quality Management in the Courts: A Handbook for Judicial Policy Makers and Administrators. (1994). National Center for State Courts, Court Services Division. This document describes how Total Quality Management (TQM) is being implemented in both the public and private sectors.  The document also outlines both the benefits and challenges of implementing TQM in the courts.
  • Dooley, Jeff. Cultural Aspects of Change Management. This short paper addresses the need to include cultural considerations and concerns during management change.
  • Journal of Organizational Change Management. This Web site has a list of references for change management, and archived issues.
  • The Change Project. This website is for an organization dedicated to using the changing environment to make changes through writing, speaking, and consulting.

Strategic Planning in the Courts

  • David Steelman. Twelve Steps to Enhance the Efficiency of Court Operations in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. (2011). National Center for State Courts, Court Consulting Services. This publication discusses inefficiencies within the Lancaster County court system and steps that can be taken to correct them.
  • Thomas M. Clarke. Possible Implications of the Principles-Based Essential Functions of Courts: A Modest Proposal. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010. This article discusses some possible implications and suggest ways in which courts might be reorganized to concentrate dwindling court resources on those functions constituting the core and constitutional mission of the state and local courts.
  • Hon. Paul J. De Muniz. Building Tomorrow's Courts Today. (2009). Future Trends in State Courts 2009. This article discusses how the staff of Oregon's state courts strives and have succeeded to fulfill their mission to provide fair and accessible justice services that protect the rights of individuals, preserve community welfare, and maintain the public's confidence in their justice system.  how courts have been outsourcing for years and will likely do more of it in the future to hold costs down and improve service.
  • Richard Van Duizend and Kathy Mays Coleman. Why Not Now? Strategic Planning by Courts in Challenging Financial Times. (2009). Future Trends in State Courts 2009. This article discusses how states, local governments, and trial courts around the nation are using strategic planning as a tool to identify and better manage their core missions during these difficult fiscal times.
  • Court Futures/Trends and Strategic Planning Glossary. (2003). National Center for State Courts. This NCSC glossary provides definitions and links in related articles/works regarding strategic planning in the courts.
  • Pankey, Kenneth, Anne Skove and Jennifer Sheldon. Charting a Course to Strategic Thought and Action: Developing Strategic Planning Capacities in State Courts. (2002). This report presents information intended to help state courts improve their capacities for conducting visioning and strategic planning activities and attempts to relates its review of the concepts to actual court futures efforts, the intent being to discern some lessons from their experiences.
  • Fautsko, Timothy, Cynthia Dietrich and Penelope Wentland. Report of Strategic Planning and Customer Service Development Training in Preparation for IJJIS Development and Implementation. (1999). Court Services Division. An analysis of how Orleans Parish must reform its overcrowded juvenile courts. This report includes articles on fairness and racial bias, problems which these courts constantly face. Charts and articles are provided towards the end which discuss possible solutions to the multitude of problems faced by Orleans Parish.
  • Martin, John A.Strategic Planning in the Courts: Implementation Guide. (1995). Denver, CO: Center for Public Policy Studies. A short handbook which outlines some of the steps that a court can take to improve its strategic planning. This starts with the planning process, an 8-step program which leads to the actual strategy. Suggestions to expedite court cases are suggested, as well as methods of unclogging institutional backup. (KF8732 S76).
  • Court Strategic Plans. Judicial Council of California. Includes the Judicial Council`s Strategic Plan, and the Judicial Branch Operational Plan.
  • Good To Great: 2005-2010 Strategic Agenda. Arizona Supreme Court. A web site which discusses the State of Arizona ’s plan for implementing a more comprehensive strategic planning system. Included are keynote addresses, law code excerpts, and findings of task groups and special panels. The state lists five goals at the bottom of every page as the keys to reaching their eventual higher status.


  • John A. Martin and Brenda J. Wagenknecht-Ivey. It's a New Day: Future Trends Require Revolutionary Changes in Courts. (2011). Future Trends in State Courts 2011. The social, economic, technological, and policy trends shaping the courts since the 1990s, coupled with emerging trends, will require courts to alter their roles more profoundly by 2020 than ever before.  Courts must revolutionize how they provide justice services, rethink how they do business, and assertively shape a better future.
  • Hon. Christine M. Durham and Daniel J. Becker. Reaping Benefits and Paying the Price for Good Business Decisions: Utah's Reengineering Experience. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010. This article presents Utah's experience with reengineering, describing both the benefits and the political costs associated with reengineering court processes.
  • Daniel J. Hall and Lee Suskin. Reengineering Lessons from the Field. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010. This article discusses lessons learned from courts engaged in reengineering projects, including insights with regard to successful project design.
  • Thomas M. Clarke. Reengineering: The Importance of Establishing Principles. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010. This article discusses the importance of establishing principles to guide reengineering processes and to work with justice partners to establish stable and adequate funding for the courts.
  • Hon. Christine M. Durham and Steven C. Hollon. Creating a New Face of Justice. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010. This article introduces a series of five (5) articles that shares experiences of courts engaged in the reengineering process to confront the quality of services challenges during a time of diminishing resources.
  • Victor E. Flango. Which Disputes Belong in Court?. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010. This article discusses an essential functions approach to re-engineeering in which courts the financial crisis that has caused state and local courts to examine court services, define those that are most essential, streamline or even eliminate services that are not highest priority, and reengineer those that remain.
  • Thomas M. Clarke. Technology and Reengineering. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010. This article discusses how courts have used technology for decades to improve their services and now the time has come for them to use technology to help rethink and reengineer their operations.
  • Thomas M. Clarke. The Business Case for Court-Principles-Based Essential Functions. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010. This article discusses strategies of state courts to reengineer their state court systems in response to the current deep economic recession and its attendant impacts on state and local revenue and budgets.
  • Hon. John T. Broderick, Jr. and Daniel J. Hall. What is Reengineering and Why Is It Necessary?. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010. This article discusses the necessity of reengineering state court processes.
  • David Steelman, Laura Klaversma, Dale Kasparek, Edward Papps, and Henry Townsend. Court Business Process Enhancement Guide. (2003). NCSC, SEARCH, and the National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. A guide for court managers on the application of business processes and review techniques, and a tool for employing technology in court systems.
  • Steelman, David C. Court Business Process Enhancement Manual. (2003). This manual provides help for judge leaders, court administrators, clerks of court, court IT directors, and other court managers who deal with information technology prepare for technology change, and adjust to the changes that technology brings to the courts.
  • Steelman, David. Reengineering and Process Improvement Glossary of Terms. (2003). This glossary of terms aids in the development of a preliminary understanding of the meaning of many of the common terms encountered by those who want to learn more about how to change day-to-day work processes in the courts.
  • Ahalt, Hon. Arthur M. Monty. Remaking the Courts and Law Firms of the Nation:  Industrial Age to the Information Age. (2000). Texas Tech Law Review 31, no. 4. Judge Ahalt suggests that courts, lawyers, and judges must embrace modern technology to create a successful future.  He lists positive changes that would occur if modern technology was applied to dispute resolution systems, such as reduced time delays, reduced costs, and increased profits. Judge Ahalt bases his analysis upon Michael Hammer's and Dean Pound's works regarding court technology and reengineering.
  • Business Process Reengineering Assessment Guide (Version 3). (1997). Washington, D.C.:  U.S. General Accounting Office. This extensive document explains when agencies are ready for reengineering, the challenges faced by it, and the most effective means of implementing it.