Major Changes for Judge's Secretaries : LUSENET : Federal Judge's Secretaries Forum : One Thread

What are some examples of major changes that Judge's Secretaries face in the office

-- Michael Berney (, August 17, 1999


In most chambers the only constant employees are the Judge and the secretary. Law clerks generally serve for only 1 year. Every year there is an entirely new set of personalities in chambers. The limited duration of 4 members of a 6 member staff makes it difficult to form very strong bonds with your co-workers. In addition, a judges chambers if very isolated. Most days I come in contact with only the 5 other people in our chambers. In the Court of Appeals we have no visitors besides the mail person and an occasional maintenance worker.

-- Ann M. Wisniewski (, August 20, 1999.

Coming from a law firm, a primary major change was becoming Secretary/Administrator/Coordinator/Duplicator/Faxer/Messenger/ Maintenance/Supply Supervisor/Kitchen Overseer/Mini-Switchboard Operator. All these are separate departments in a law firm.

On the other hand, an additional major change was being given recognition! The Court staff and even judges and their chambers staff acknowledge our existence (to an extent!) and do show us a degree of respect! That rarely if ever happens in a law firm.

-- Mary Wieczorek (, August 20, 1999.

We get new law clerks every 1-2 years. These law clerks are usually just out of school and most have an attitude. In addition to the law clerks we get 1-2 externs from the local law schools. The new law clerks have so much to learn, but don't necessary want to learn from the secretary who has been with the Judge for years and knows his likes and dislikes. The law clerks look down on the secretary and don't understand that most of what the secretary knows is learned from the Judge. Add that to new externs once a year and what do you have? Lots of trouble brewing in chambers.

-- Flay Sambrone-Metoyer (, August 25, 1999.

Major changes faced by secretaries/judicial assistants in chambers include staff changes, automation changes, procedure changes, workload adjustments, responsibilities. The major change would have to be the yearly staff changes with the law clerks (now that my Judge is a Chief Circuit Judge, we get four new law clerks every year). That means, orientation sessions, getting used to new habits/customs, adapting to different work patterns, etc. The second major change is the (what seems likely monthly!) automation changes including word processing, internet/intranet use, and statistical reporting.

-- Patricia L. Kowalski (, September 22, 1999.

Major changes faced by secretaries/judicial assistants in chambers include in addition to major automation changes, the increased workload and responsibilities of the Magistrate Judges in our District. We have learned to prioritize our work and also share responsibilities with our Courtroom Deputy and Law Clerk. In our chambers we work together as a "team", so that we can be the most efficient and do the best job possible for our Judge. We are very fortunate to have a "Career" Law Clerk, and she has been a tremendous asset to our chambers.

-- Diane R. Rimkis (, December 23, 1999.

The biggest change we all will face is the possibility that we could be replaced by lawclerks! As the caseload continues to increase and the judgeship vacancies are left unfilled, that prospect looms even greater. We need to be aware of this possibility so that we can stay valuable and relevant.

-- Carolyn M. Weber (Carolyn, December 23, 1999.

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