Institute of Continuing Judicial Education
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The Institute Of Continuing Judicial Education Of Georgia

The Institute Of Continuing Judicial Education Of Georgia, ICJE, is a resource consortium of the Georgia Judicial Branch, the State Bar of Georgia, and the four ABA accredited law schools of the State (Emory, Georgia State, Mercer and the University of Georgia). Historically, the UGA Law School has provided the Institute headquarters space, administrative personnel, as well as other coordinating support and access to UGA resources.

The ICJE is a creation of the University Of Georgia School of Law, the Judicial Council of Georgia and the Georgia Supreme Court. It was founded as the Georgia Judicial College in 1976, but became the Institute Of Continuing Judicial Education in 1979. Today, it is the judicial branch agency designated to furnish basic and continuing education for elected officials, employees and volunteer agents of the State judiciary.

Superior Court (now Federal District) Judge Ernest Tidwell chaired the Judicial Council of Georgia, which initiated development of the ICJE in concert with the Georgia Supreme Court. The UGA Law School, under the direction of Dean J. Ralph Beaird, asserted a leadership role in providing space and staff for the ICJE, just as it successfully had done, and was doing, for continuing lawyer education. Gus Cleveland, former State Bar President and during the 1960s a founding member of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia (ICLE), exerted leadership and support through the State Bar for creation of Georgia's organization dedicated for judicial continuing education.

From 1972, federal grants to the Administrative Office of the Courts, primarily from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), or the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), provided the financial means to deliver continuing education conferences in-state for judges and court support personnel. But, prior to creation of the State Judicial College, there was no organization or staff of personnel in Georgia fully devoted to the task of designing and delivering judicial educational services for judges, court support personnel, or the volunteer agents of the State court system. The National Judicial College and several other providers of continuing judicial education offered courses regionally and nationally, and marketed services to states such as Georgia.

Transformation of the Judicial College in 1979 to the ICJE was a development within the UGA School of Law. It included, for the first time, providing an Executive Director who could work full-time in the field of judiciary basic and continuing education. Federal grants still largely furnished ICJE program funding. Throughout the formative years of the State Judicial College, as well as during the first five years of the Institute's existence, the State Bar of Georgia's representative to the judicial educational governing board was attorney Gus Cleveland. For the UGA Law School, Dean Ralph Beaird provided a constant force of vision and leadership.

By 1986, the tenth year after its inception, Georgia court professionals served by ICJE programs included: superior court judges, superior court clerks, state court judges, secretaries to superior and state court judges, juvenile court judges, probate court judges, magistrate court judges, and judge-faculty used in the training of magistrate court judges. Nearly all of these groups experienced multi-day seminars of 12 to 20 hours duration at least two times each year.

In 1989, the ICJE competed for and won the ABA's Excellence in Judicial Education Award, sponsored by the National Conference of Special Court Judges, as a premier judicial educational program in the USA. In 1999, after a decade of focus on product and service development the ICJE again earned this ABA Excellence in Judicial Education Award.

Today, the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education of Georgia (ICJE) remains a public service and outreach commitment of Georgia's ABA accredited law schools, the State Bar and judiciary. It bears primary responsibility for basic training and continuing education of elected officials, court support personnel and volunteer agents of the State's judicial branch. It is funded primarily by the State, but also uses support from local governing authorities. Its project output has more than tripled since its creation. It provides semiannual or annual programs for judges of superior, state, juvenile, probate, magistrate and municipal courts, together with training for clerks of superior, state, juvenile, probate, magistrate and municipal courts, as well as courses for secretaries of both trial court judges and magistrates, along with instruction for trial court and appellate court law clerks, juvenile court probation officers, court administrators, and administrative law judges of the Office of State Administrative Hearings and the Workers Comp Board, as well as for volunteer agents like jury commissioners, foster care review panelists, and lawyer disciplinary hearing officers. Conferences and seminars signify the products traditionally identified with the ICJE by its constituents. During a typical program year, more than 50,000 attendee contact hours of training will be designed and delivered, involving more than 3000 program participants.

In addition to its traditional conferences, the modern scope of products furnished to ICJE constituents now includes: videotapes (both ICJE produced and vendor supplied), benchbooks and monographs, periodic satellite teleconferences (some originated by the ICJE and others monitored from other sponsors), computer software (both commercial as well as custom-developed), and private vendor-supplied seminars, including website-based distance learning self-study lessons. The ICJE also runs a comprehensive program of financial aid support for judges and court officials wishing to attend nationally-based judicial educational activities.

Course refinements offered during the past ten years encompassed computer training for all judges and clerks of the various courts on specific software packages (e.g., WordPerfect, Excel, Georgia Law On Disc, West On-Line), as well as on administrative applications unique to the courts. Humanities & Judging Seminars have matched college and university scholars with superior, state, juvenile, probate, magistrate, and municipal court judges in study and discussion of literature, history and philosophy. A variety of originally scripted ICJE video tape productions have targeted: judicial disciplinary procedures, awareness of gender bias in the courts, orientation to the duties of a guardian for the property of a minor as well as on the guardian of the person of an elderly adult, introduction to clerking in magistrate court, overview and commentary on the duties of a jury commissioner, and similarly of a court bailiff. A small video tape library, maintained for self-study use by constituents, is constituted of recordings of regular seminar instructional units, and has been augmented by selected purchases from out-of-state vendors of judicial educational products.


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