Montgomery, Ala., January 24, 2007 - Alabama's judges want to go back to school but they can't afford it. This month, members of the Alabama State Bar will be solicited to donate money as part of a one-time judicial scholarship fundraising program that is expected to total $250,000 for use by 90-100 Alabama judges who have never attended National Judicial College training programs. Each recipient would receive a $2,000 scholarship.
State Bar President Fournier J. "Boots" Gale, III (Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C., Birmingham) said, "By attending the judicial college's 10-day general jurisdiction training program our judges can learn from judges in other states how they address common issues."
Last May, Chief Justice Drayton Nabers appeared before the Board of Bar Commissioners to outline the extent of the problem. He said that because of a lack of funds, no new Alabama state court trial judges have been able to receive substantive judicial training offered by the National Judicial College since 1988. He also referenced the fact that the Alabama Judicial College has been shut down since 2004.
The National Judicial College provides judicial education and professional development for the nation's judiciary as well as for judges from other countries. Since 1963, the National Judicial College has awarded more than 70,000 professional judicial education certificates.
The ASB program is modeled after an initiative of the Birmingham Bar Association in 2002. This effort by the private bar will provide a major enhancement to the state's judicial system.
The 15,500-member Alabama State Bar is dedicated to promoting the professional responsibility, competence and satisfaction of its members; improving the administration of justice, and: increasing public understanding and respect for the law.