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1984 NSBA News 1 (1984)

handle is hein.barjournals/neblwr1984 and id is 1 raw text is: NSBA News

Judiciary Committee proposes evaluation poll

The NSBA Judiciary Committee,
chaired by Daniel D. Jewell of Nor-
folk, is proposing a new program in
which all Bar members would com-
plete a comprehensive evaluation of
all Nebraska judges every two years.
The results of the bi-anniual poll
would serve as a resource for the
public prior to retention elections,
and would assist individual judges in
identifying areas in which their per-
formance might be impfoved.
After studying judicial performance
evaluation instruments used in several
other parts of the country, the com-
mittee developed three separate polls,
one to be used for members of the
Nebraska Supreme Court, one for use
in evaluating county and district
judges and workmen's compensation
court judges, and a third for use with
U.S. district judges, magistrates and
federal bankruptcy judges.
Each poll includes a wide variety of
characteristics which the attorney
can rate on a scale. Additional ques-
tions ask whether the judge's health
is such that he or she can effectively
discharge the duties of judicial office,
and whether the judge should be re-
tained in office.
House to vote April 6
According to Jewell, the proposed
evaluation system will be submitted
to the NSBA House of Delegates at
their Mid-Year Meeting April 6, and if
approved will be in place prior to the
1984 elections.
Tile plan at this time is to send
every active Bar member in the state
a copy of each of the three evaluation
instruments, and a listing of all judges
in the state. The attorney would
determine how many of the judges he
or she was eligible to evaluate, make

sufficient copies of the forms to have
one for each judge, fill out tile forms
and mail them to tile NSBA office.
The evaluations Would be coin piled in
the NSBA office, sent to each judge,
and made availal)le upon request to
the news media.
Among the characteristics which
vould be evaluated if the program is
al)proved are: knowledge and applica-
tion of substantive law,. ability to
perceive factual and legal issues, not
influenced by nature of case, judicial
temperament and demeanor, atten-
tiveness to arguments, and others.
These vary somewhat depending on
the type of judge being evaluated.
We feel that the results of this
type of evaluation could be extremely
valuable, both to the public and to
the judges as individuals, Jewell says.
Lawvyers who )ractice in tile courts
Nine communities
Under the leadership of the NSBA
Young Lawyers Section, the Public
Awareness Seminars which were suc-
cessfully introduced in 1983 will be
continued and expanded this year.
According to Steve Voigt, past chair-
man of the Section and now chair-
man of the seminar project, at least
nine seminars will be held this spring
across the state.
Last year, six seminars were held,
with attendance ranging from about
40 to over 300. The concept is to pre-
sent a free public education program,
offering a brief overview of several
areas of the law, with time allowed
for questions from the audience.
Among the areas of law addressed in
the 1983 seminars were divorce and
child support, estate planning, con-
sumer law, housing, and how to
select a lawyer.

are in tie best position to advise the
general public as to vhether a judge
should be retained in office. The polls
also give the Ba' a chance to suggest
areas in which a judge needs im-
provement, Without a personal con-
frontation.
The committee proposes that an at-
torney who has not practiced before
a judge for two years prior to the
evaluation would not be eligible to
complete the evaluation of the trial
judges. All attorneys may participate
in portions of the evaluation of the
Nebraska Supreme Court judges, if
they wish, based on their reading of
the Court's opinions.
All components of this program are,
of course, subject to approval by the
House of Delegates. A complete re-
port of their action will be contained
in the next issue of NSBA News.
to offer seminars
The 1984 programs will be held on
the following dates and locations:
April 10: Sidney
April 11: Scottsbluff
April 12: Alliance
April 13: Chadron
April 25: Hastings
April 26: Grand Island
April 27: Kearney
In addition, programs will be held
in Omaha and Lincoln, with dates yet
to be announced.
For additional information, or if you
wish to sponsor a seminar in your
community, contact Steve Voigt,
Rovar Park #14, P.O. Box 1184,
Kearney 68847, (308) 234-5524.
The NSBA will provide publicity and
advertising support for all seminars,
and has prepared a model program
to make the planning process easier.
The seminars can be held on a city-,
county- or district-wide basis, and
would be an excellent Law Day pro-
gram for a local bar association.

Isstue 84-1  March 19{84

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