Court Leader’s Advantage Video Podcast: September 2020 Episode

Brought to you in cooperation with NACM

Over the last forty years, our nation’s courts have been committed to diversity and inclusion, in order to live up to the ideals of fairness and equality, and to build public trust and confidence.  While we can point to many improvements, there is still much work to be done.

The lessons learned from diversity and inclusion practices point to benefits beyond just furthering the institutional values of fairness, equity, impartiality, trust, and accountability.  They also improve decision-making, innovation, resiliency, responsiveness, employee engagement, and delivery of services.  

Institutions like courts today are challenged by the spread of global pandemics, the demand for more access, the desire for more equitable outcomes, and the erosion of public trust and confidence in government.

Diversity and inclusion should be at the forefront to harness new solutions and to turn challenges into opportunities.  What can we do to strengthen our institutional values and apply concrete diversity and inclusion practices to the problems we face today?  What advice do we have for court administrators and clerks of court around the country dealing with these issues on a daily basis?

Watch the September CLAPodcast Episode (Video)

Listen to the September CLAPodcast Episode (Audio)

Leave a comment or question about the episode at clapodcast@nacmnet.org

About This Month’s Co-Host and Panelists

Co-Host Zenell Brown has garnered respect for her ethical leadership and innovation as the Executive Court Administrator for the Third Circuit Court in Detroit, Michigan. Zenell has built her approach on three pillars: communication, leadership responsibility and accountability, and diversity and inclusion. She has shared her “Justice for All” leadership and organizational wisdom at local, state, and national level conferences for court managers and teams.

Zenell continues to add to her current credentials of Juris Doctor (Wayne State University Law School), Public Service Administration Graduate Certificate (Central Michigan University), Court Administration Certificate (Michigan State University), and Certified Diversity Professional (National Diversity Council-Diversity First).

Hector Gonzalez is the Court Executive Officer for the Superior Court in Tuolumne County.  He was born and raised in Los Angeles.  He is bilingual, speaking both Spanish and English. Hector received a certificate in Judicial Administration from Cal State, Sacramento.  He has a law degree from University of California-Hasting College of the Law and a BA from Loyola Marymount University.  Immediately after graduating from law school, Hector was recruited to work North Central Washington state as a legal aid attorney representing Spanish-speaking farm workers in civil and family law matters for Evergreen Legal Services. 

He left legal aid to become director of a small state agency (Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs) and became an advisor to the governor, state legislature and state agencies regarding the Washington state Hispanic community.  Hector then became the manager of a legal/legislative affairs unit for a state agency (Washington State Department of Retirement Systems) acting as in-house legal counsel for the state agency coordinating litigation, administrative rule-making and relations with the state legislature. 

He returned to California and took a break from law and government employment by becoming the director of a school-based social services non-profit organization in northern Santa Barbara County (Santa Maria-Bonita School District Healthy Start Program).  Hector returned to the legal field by acting as a judge pro tem for the Santa Barbara Superior Court juvenile court diversion program.  In 2005 he began his career in court administration by becoming the Executive Management Analyst for the Superior Court of San Luis Obispo County, working directly for the Court Executive Officer, managing major court projects such as courthouse construction, courthouse security screening implementation and development of policy and procedure. 

Hector left employment with San Luis Obispo Superior Court 2009 to become the CEO of the Superior Court of Mono County.   While working as CEO for Mono County Superior Court, Hector was also an adjunct instructor for the Political Science Department of Cerro Coso Community College.  In February 2019, Hector left Mono County Superior Court to become CEO of Tuolumne Superior Court.  Hector is currently the co-chair of the Court Interpreter Advisory Panel for the California state Judicial Council (JC).  He is also member of the JC Joint Rules Subcommittee and Joint Legislation Working Group.

José Octavio Guillén retired in 2017 after working for 42 years in the California Justice System.

José served as Court Executive Officer and Jury Commissioner for the Superior Courts in Sonoma, Napa, Riverside, and Imperial Counties, as well as, served as court administrator for Beverly Hills Municipal Court, district chief for Los Angeles Superior Court, trial court services director for the California Administrative Office of the Courts, and deputy sheriff for Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.   

José served on various advisory committees and task forces of the California Judicial Council focusing on community directed planning, procedural fairness, public trust and confidence, court interpreting, self-represented litigant assistance, and budget.  He also served on NACM’s Board of Directors and served on its seminal Professional Development Advisory Committee responsible for the development of NACM’s Core Competencies.

He has also shared his expertise on various international justice reform projects since 1992, including in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Afghanistan.

Relevant published articles:

Martin, John, Jose Guillen (2007). Becoming a Culturally Competent Court, National Association for Court Management, the Court Manager, Volume 22, number 4 (Winter 2008): http://cdm16501.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/ctadmin/id/1304

Martin, John, Jose Guillen (2007). Borderland Justice: Working With Culture in Courts Along the United States/Mexico Border, NCSC Future Trends in State Courts, 2009: http://cdm16501.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/ctadmin/id/1486

Marcia M. Anderson was employed for over 28 years with the United States Courts, serving as Operations Manager and later as the Supervisory Staff Attorney for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City. She later served as the Clerk of Court for the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, Massachusetts.  She retired in November 2019 as the Clerk of Court for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, after serving over 21 years.   

During her United States Court service, she was a member of the Judiciary’s Human Resources Advisory Council, the Space and Security Advisory Council and served twice as a member of the Bankruptcy Clerks Advisory Group.   

In addition to her service with the U. S. Courts, Ms. Anderson retired in 2016 with the rank of Major General, after a distinguished career in the U. S. Army Reserve of 36 years of service.  Her assignments as a General Officer include serving as the Deputy Commanding General of the Army’s Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky from 2010- 2011, which developed policy and provided support to over one million active duty, Reserve, National Guard and Army retirees, as well as their families.  Her service culminated with her assignment at the Pentagon in 2011 as the Deputy Chief Army Reserve (DCAR) where she had responsibility for the planning, programming, and resource management of an Army Reserve budget of $8 billion that supported over 225,000 Army Reserve Soldiers, civilians and their families.  

Ms. Anderson is a graduate of the Rutgers University School of Law, the U. S. Army War College and Creighton University.  Her military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medals, as well as the Parachutists Badge.   

She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Green Bay Packers, the only publicly owned franchise in the National Football League, and also serves as a Director for MGE Energy and is on the board of Access Community Health, both located in Madison, Wisconsin.

Norman Meyer is a court administration expert after a 38 year career as a trial court administrator in the state and federal U.S. courts.   Mr. Meyer has written and spoken widely on judicial administration in the United States and abroad,  and is currently writing a court management blog (https://courtleader.net/vantage-point) as a member of the nonprofit Court Leader coalition.  He is a member of the Advisory Council of the International Association for Court Administration (having previously served as Vice President for the North American region for five years), an Associate of the Justice Speakers Institute, a Past President and recipient of the Award of Merit of the National Association for Court Management, and has served on the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts.  He has experience working with many foreign judiciaries, especially in the Russian Federation, Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Albania.  He received his M.S. in Judicial Administration from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 1979, and a B.A. in political science and Russian studies from the University of New Mexico, graduating in 1977.   normanmeyer@outlook.com

Do You Want to Know More?

Diversity and Inclusion Graphic

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Awareness – Idea By José Octavio Guillén

8 Ways to Become an Active Ally Right Here, Right Now For A Lawyer By A Lawyer By Zenell B. Brown, Esq.

Bloomberg News September 4, 2020, Trump Moves to End Federal Racial Sensitivity Training

National Public Radio News, “Workplace Diversity Goes Far Past Hiring – How Leaders Can Support Employees of Color”

Nation Public Radio News, “As the Nation Reckons with Race Poll Finds White American Least Engaged”

American Bar Association’s 21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge

“Fulfilling the Public’s Trust: Valuing Diversity & Inclusion in 2020 (Part 1)” by Norman Meyer

 “Court Leader, Fulfilling the Public’s Trust: Valuing Diversity & Inclusion in 2020 (Part 2) — What actions can court administrators take to make Diversity & Inclusion a reality in the administration of their courts?” By Norman Meyer

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