A dedication to Shirley S. Abrahamson.

JurisdictionUnited States
AuthorGeorge, Ronald M.
Date22 March 2004

In July of 2004, Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson of Wisconsin will succeed me as President of the Conference of Chief Justices ("CCJ") and Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts ("NCSC"). The Conference of Chief Justices endeavors to promote reforms in state court administration and works closely with the NCSC in providing education and service to the courts. My colleagues and I have elected Chief Justice Abrahamson to this post because of our abiding confidence in her leadership and her judicial acumen. I am honored to be able to participate in this dedication.

Shirley Abrahamson has been nothing short of an inspiration to students, jurists, and legal scholars worldwide. She was the only woman in her Indiana law school class, and in 1976 she became the first female appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Since then, she has made an extraordinary impact on Wisconsin's justice system. Chief Justice Abrahamson is a thoughtful and progressive jurist who is concerned about a spectrum of issues ranging from the rights of the individual to the impact of technology in the courts, and she has lent her intellect and expertise to instituting reforms in all of those areas.

In 1996, for example, Chief Justice Abrahamson established a series of conferences and workshops in her state to examine the use of volunteers in the court system, especially in the state's Children in Need of Protection or Services ("CHIPS") program. She is a strong advocate of volunteerism and is keenly interested in the ways in which the courts and the community can work together. That principle, coupled with her unwavering commitment to children and families, led her to direct this pioneering project. "When members of the community work side-by-side with judges and court staff, we increase the range and scope of programs the courts are able to offer and we give the community a tangible stake in its court system. Volunteers enable the courts to provide services not currently available," (1) she notes. Her efforts resulted in innovations such as the Wisconsin Families, Children and Justice Initiative, which educates people working with families in the courts and identifies projects for federal funding. (2)

As part of her mission of providing equal access to justice for all citizens, Chief Justice Abrahamson has been the driving force behind an effort to provide pro se assistance services to self-represented litigants and the legal community...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT