Wisconsin Lawyer: Chief Justice: Courts must deal with 'profound cultural shift':

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    Chief Justice: Courts must deal with 'profound cultural shift'

    Addressing the state's judges gathered in Appleton for a two-day Wisconsin Judicial Conference in November, Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson delivered her annual State of the Judiciary Address, telling of a "profound cultural shift" that will require the courts to work in new ways.
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    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 79, No. 12, December 2006

    Chief Justice: Courts must deal with 'profound cultural shift'

    Addressing the state's judges gathered in Appleton for a two-day Wisconsin Judicial Conference in November, Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson delivered her annual State of the Judiciary Address, telling of a "profound cultural shift" that will require the courts to work in new ways. The shift, Abrahamson said, is driven by four changes:

    • more people repre-senting themselves in court;
    • more people in court who do not speak or understand English;
    • less paper and an increasing reliance on technology; and
    • the demonstrated success of programs that are collaborative and involve partners outside of the courts.

    Abrahamson told the judges that she witnessed these changes as she embarked on a 21-county tour in 2006. While each county is unique, she said, all have felt the impact of this cultural shift, and all are developing ways to address these changes while making progress on the courts' priority issue. The issues include assistance to self-represented litigants, courthouse safety, treatment and prevention of alcohol and drug dependency, and finding effective justice strategies to enhance public safety.

    "Our success in these areas is limited only by our imaginations," Abrahamson said, "and by our ability to collaborate and to make smart use of technology. Videoconferencing, e-filing, online forms … all might have a role to play."




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