I've just had lunch with my long-time mentor, a very smart and thoughtful woman who was a justice on the Maine Supreme Court when we first met, and has since become the Chief Justice. We talked about lots of things. I filled her in on my career meanderings over the past year and a half. She talked about what she sees managing the court system for the state, and how she's trying to set priorities given the way-too-scarce resources the legislature allocates to the judicial system.
How could someone like me help you? I asked her. She said, "I'm not sure." As we were talking about some other things she talked about the fact that approximately half of the people in the courts are there representing themselves, and some of those people don't read, and all of them are overwhelmed and terrified and don't know their way around. She's thinking a lot about how to help them navigate the legal system, and understand what to expect. She wants to develop some resources for them that will explain the process. I said, "What if I spent a day a month in a different courtroom and watched and wrote about what I see?" That would be great, she said. She said attorneys aren't afraid to talk to her, exactly, but they're always deferential and very careful when they do. So I'm going to venture, wide-eyed, into some of the courtrooms I never went into as an attorney, and see what I learn.