Vermont Bar Journal
Spring 2009 - #10.
Considering the Future of Courts and Law Practice in Vermont
THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL Volume 35, No. 1 SPRING 2009
Considering the Future of Courts and Law Practice in Vermontby Douglas L. Molde, Esq.
As I mentioned in my last column, the next year.(fn2) Additionally, a weighted the Vermont legislature has created caseload study and, perhaps, additional a Commission on Judicial Operation materials are to be prepared for the charged with making recommendations Commission's consideration by the to the legislature on the consolidation National Center for State Courts. A of staff, regionalization of administrative robust, fair, and impartial process, good functions, use of technology, flexibility information broadly disseminated to in the use of resources, reallocation of attorneys and other stakeholders, and jurisdictions between courts, and other the participation of attorneys and other ideas to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of judicial services. The Commission has the potential to substantially affect access to justice, as well as Vermont lawyers and their practices. Justice Dooley addressed the financial imperatives of the judiciary's budget in the last VBA Journal. Chief Justice Reiber addressed a joint session of the Vermont Legislature on February 9, 2009, and his address is reproduced in this issue of the Journal. The Chief Justice spoke at the Mid-Year Meeting of the Vermont Bar Association with regard to these financial imperatives and the Commission on Judicial Operations. The Commission has been constituted as a blue ribbon panel from government and the private sector. While Eileen Blackwood, President-Elect of the VBA, is a member of the Commission, she was appointed personally and not in a representative capacity. Our executive director, Robert Paolini, has been invited to attend the meetings, but the VBA does not have a vote at the Commission level. I want to impress on VBA members the importance of their participating in the forums and process of the Vermont Commission on Judicial Operations. An e-mail message sent to VBA members by Eileen Blackwood and Bob Paolini on March 10, 2009, provides background on the Commission.(fn1) It is my understanding that the Commission does not have a "plan" that it is advancing to address the realities of the court budget, but is engaged in a process that will result in the creation of a plan for the legislature's consideration. Currently the Commission is reviewing a draft interim legislative report, which lays out in very general terms the plan for the Commission's operation over stakeholders in the process are of critical importance in the reorganization of our courts and the reformulation of how justice is delivered. The Commission will need to make its case for a viable judicial system providing meaningful access to justice to a...