American Judges Association



Elliott Zide

Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 50, Issue 1 (2014)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


Being AJA president has put me in a sort of catbird seat attending a number of events that provide the opportunity to interact with thoughtful judges and court leaders and to gain perspective on the importance and value of AJA’s mission of Making Better Judges.

I was appointed to the Massachusetts District Court in 1986 at a time when then-Chief Justice Samuel E. Zoll and the court’s administrative director, Jerome S. Berg (an early graduate of what became the National Center for State Courts’ Institute of Court Management), were moving forward with an ambitious strategy to transform the district courts from perceived places of rough justice to a more credibly fair and impartial institution where there is the sort of due process everyone can believe in. Zoll and Berg were convinced of the transformative nature of professional development and established a judicial education committee, which I chaired from 1992 to 2007.

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Patricia Murrell 1 in time to learn some important lessons about the relationship of leadership and judicial education. Pat’s most enduring legacy is that she provided a generation of judicial education leaders with valuable tools we could use, and teach others to use, to make better judges and transform our courts.