According to the National Association for Court Management (NACM), the increasing complexity of American life and the scope of litigation in the United States have created an administrative burden on the courts that cannot be handled by judges and traditional court staff alone. The Court Administrator, a relatively new position, fills this gap by handling the managerial duties and administrative functions within the court system. This includes paying court employees, balancing the budget of the court system, and making sure that all of the proceedings run smoothly. In addition, a court administrator will make sure that each of the courtroom employees is performing their duties correctly and efficiently. A court administrator will work to organize the records and manage the flow of cases so that court activities and trials do not get behind schedule.
Most of these positions require an individual to be in charge of all of the human resources operations of a court building. Some of these duties include hiring and training all new employees, settling disputes between employees, and assessing the performances of employees. In addition, the court administrator will work with judges and executives to create professional development strategies in order to create new procedures and policies to maximize the efficiency of the court building.
It is common for one court administrator to be in charge of the entire HR department and have all of the bookkeeping responsibilities in a smaller, local court. In larger court systems an administrator will work with an executive or judge and there will be several professionals that work together on the budget and efficiency issues of the court.
A court administrator will be required to have at least an undergraduate degree. Many of these professionals have a graduate or other professional degree as well. Recommended majors for those interested in the court administrative field include public administration, business, or judicial administration or a field that is related to these.
In some states a person will be required to become certified in order to act as a court administrator. The requirements for certification will vary based on the state.
Experience and Key Skills
The amount of experience required to become a court administrator will vary based on the state and the size of the court building. There are some states that will require a person have experience in judicial administration or court management before they are eligible to become certified as a court administrator.
A person that is interested in court administration will need to have clerical skills. In addition, a person needs to have management and administration skills. Court administrators must have great personal service skills as they are required to handle any employee disputes that may arise. Business management students are often qualified for these positions as they will learn the skills needed during their courses of study.
Computer skills are also required for this position. This includes being familiar with the systems that are used by the court such as docket systems and electronic case flow systems.
Becoming a Court Administrator
The first step in becoming a court administrator is obtaining an undergraduate degree in an appropriate field of study such as judicial administration, business management, or public administration. There are some states that require an individual to have graduate degrees in these fields in order to apply for this position.
The next step is to gain experience by working in jobs that are related to judicial or public administration. Court internships are a great way to get training and experience and some courts offer administrator certificate programs that will count towards the experience requirements.
Consider certification programs that are offered by the state. These programs will help provide an individual with a competitive edge when it comes to applying for a position.