Judicial Skills Development Seminar

Programs 2007-current (2010)

The 2010 Program: The eighth annual Judicial Skills Development Seminar is currently in session (November 3-17, 2010).  The focus of this year's program is on "Judicial Power and Case Management in the American Court System."  Twenty judges from Shanghai have come to Madison to participate.

The seminar this fall includes a visit to Chicago to observe the federal court (7th Circuit) and to have a video conference with ABA representatives.  In Madison, their schedule includes visiting the Wisconsin Supreme Court and talking with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson;  observations of jury trials at the Dane County Circuit Court including seeing some of the procedure for selecting prospective jurors; observation of the drug court in Dane County; discussions about issues concerning the Wisconsin Court of Appeals; a tour of the federal district court (Western District Wisconsin) in Madison; and lectures presented by a number of Law School teaching faculty, including Professors Cheryl Weston (American civil procedure), Susan Steingass (court-sponsored mediation and conciliation), Jessica Harrison (overview of American governmental components and the legal sources related to the governmental branches; common law analysis); Steve Hurley (criminal law and evidence issues).  A special lecture on recent judicial reforms in Russia is being given by Alexei Trochev.  

Judge John Markson, who went to Shanghai earlier in the year with Center Director, Professor John Ohnesorge, to teach the initial sessions of the seminar, will be meeting with the visiting judges from Shanghai, as will Appellate Court Judge Margaret Vergeront (Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District IV) and Peter Oppeneer, Clerk of Courts, federal district court (W.D. Wisconsin). 

As part of the Seminar, the group visited law firms in New York before arriving in Madison.  

The 2009 Program: Twenty-five judges came to Madison to participate in the seventh annual Judicial Skills Seminar from November 4 to November 13, 2009. During their stay in Madison, they met with judges from Wisconsin's circuit courts, appellate court, and supreme court.  The visiting judges participated in a Dane County judge's investiture and observed a drug court at the Dane County Circuit Court. They received an introduction to the federal court system at the U.S. Federal District Court, Western District, Wisconsin, located in Madison. Special lectures were given to the visiting judges by the Law School faculty.


The 2008 program: Eighteen judges from Shanghai came to Madison to participate in the Sixth Annual Judicial Skills Training Seminar, October 19 to November 7, 2008. The judges ended their first week with a visit to the American Bar Association in Chicago and observation of oral arguments heard by the federal Court of Appeals of the 7th Circuit. They made many observations in the trial court in Madison and also visited the 7th Circuit District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, located in Madison. Many Law School faculty as well as area attorneys presented special lectures to the group as part of their three-week seminar.


The 2007 program: Twenty judges from Shanghai participated in the Fifth Annual Judicial Skills Training Seminar July 21- August 11, 2007. During each of the programs, judges from the Shanghai district courts, intermediate courts, and the High People's Court participate in courtroom observations, formal lectures, and informal discussions with Wisconsin and federal judges, and with faculty from the University of Wisconsin Law School. The 2007 program began in Shanghai during the week of June 9, 2007 in Shanghai, when four judges from the Dane County Circuit Court, Judges Michael Nowakowski, Angela Bartell, Sarah O'Brien, and John Albert, and Law School Professor John Ohnesorge went to Shanghai to teach the first section of the program. The judges began the U.S. part of the program with a trip to Minneapolis/St. Paul to meet with members of the federal judiciary. (See photo on this page.) Their program continued in Madison with extensive court observations, discussions with judges, and classes at the Law School. The program concluded on August 11, 2007 in Madison.

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