Vermont Bar Journal
Spring 2007 - #6.
Vermont Bankruptcy Court Sets Strategic Goals Focused on Access to Justice
THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL SPRING 2007 Vermont Bankruptcy Court Sets Strategic Goals Focused on Access to Justiceby Hon. Colleen A. Brown & Thomas J. HartOn November 28 and 29, 2006, Judge Colleen Brown and all staff of the Vermont Bankruptcy Court Chambers and Clerk's Office, joined by the five bankruptcy trustees, representatives of the U.S. Trustee's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. District Court, and the private bar (representing both debtor and creditor interests) created a blueprint for the Court's strategic plan for the next year or two.(fn1) With the guidance of R. Dale Lefever, Ph.D., the group identified four strategic issues. Interestingly, although the group began the process without any particular focus in mind, all four of the strategic issues the group articulated revolve around the general theme of enhancing Vermonters' access to justice in the bankruptcy setting. The Court is continuing to refine the issues, and to develop means for achieving the goals under each. The four issues can be summarized as follows: 1. ensuring that all Vermonters have access to bankruptcy relief through the development of a larger bar of qualified bankruptcy attorneys;
expanding the Court's use of technology to ensure broader geographic access to bankruptcy court hearings, routinely and in disaster situations;
improving the clarity of court documents so that the public can better understand the bankruptcy process, both generically and when seeking to participate in a bankruptcy case; and
giving priority to the recruiting, training, and maintaining of an effective mix of staff for the court, being sensitive to both the rapidly changing needs of the court and the diminishing pool of applicants qualified to perform the required tasks.
The Court initiated the strategic planning process to be proactive and to set a course for the Court independent of outside mandates. As many readers of this article may know, the Bankruptcy Court has made many changes in the last four years that were necessitated by forces outside its control, particularly (a) the requirement that all federal courts move to an electronic filing and case management system--CM/ECF, and (b) the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse...