American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 54, Issue 3 (2018)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


T he National Judicial College (NJC) gathered the foremost judicial education experts to discuss how the judicial education field can best educate U.S. trial court judges at every stage in their careers. Some judges enter the judicial profession with no specialized education or training about the judicial role. Yet, society asks these professionals to make often life-changing decisions during their first days on the job. During the 2.5-day Transforming 21st Century Judicial Education symposium held at NJC in Reno, Nevada, the experts provided suggestions, engaged in debates, and offered resources.

During the symposium, the participants agreed that a number of paradoxes exist. For instance, core competencies have been established for court administrators and judicial educators, but no U.S. entity has ever drafted core competencies for judges. As a result, most U.S. judicial education efforts aren’t based upon any type of guiding curricula. Rather, most state judicial education organizations use committees of judges, who are not professional educators, to select the educational topics for their annual conferences.