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  • InsideTrack
  • December 07, 2022

    View from the Bench: The Post-pandemic Courtroom

    How has the pandemic changed the way judges conduct court proceedings? Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Kristine Snow shares some views from the bench.

    Dec. 7, 2022 – The 2022 Wisconsin Solo and Small Firm Conference in October was the first one Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Kristine Snow attended since being elected in the spring of 2020.

    During a panel presentation titled “The View from the Bench,” Snow and other judges discussed how the pandemic forced changes to the way they conduct court proceedings.

    Snow, a former solo practitioner, said she was conducting in-person jury trials soon after being elected because Dodge County was one of the first counties in the state to re-open.

    Snow said that virtual hearings are a good idea for certain proceedings, like preliminary hearings and scheduling conferences. But other types of hearings lose a lot by being conducted virtually, she said.

    “Evidentiary hearings are always going to be hard,” Snow said. “We want to see the people in our courtroom and we want to get feedback from them, face-to-face. A lot of what trial judges do is gauge credibility and it’s very hard to do that through a TV screen.”

    Snow said the thing she enjoys most about being a judge is the variety of matters that come before her.

    “I’m doing everything from name-change hearings to mental commitments to guardianship hearings to criminal cases to family law cases,” Snow said. “I’m really learning a lot more about our legal system as a whole, and I really enjoy that.”

    Replays from the Wisconsin Solo and Small Firm Conference Available

    Replays of selected sessions from the 2022 Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference are scheduled for December. With a CLE reporting deadline fast approaching, WSSFC replays are a great way to earn credits with relevant and timely topics.

    Go to the WisBar Marketplace and search on “WSSFC 2022.” More than 30 sessions are available in four different tracks: substantive law; practice management; technology; and quality of life and ethics.

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