Mention the term “strategic plan” and eyes may glaze over. Detailed by their very nature, these documents do not make for light reading. The other risk of a strategic plan is that despite the best of intentions, it may end up on a shelf gathering dust. Still, no institution can maximize strengths, leverage opportunities, address weaknesses, and prepare to deal constructively with threats to its future without a plan.
With 7 court departments and 379 judges who deliver justice in 101 courthouses across the state, the Massachusetts Trial Court is a major institution affecting every person in Massachusetts. So we applaud the Trial Court for keeping its strategic plan, “One Mission: Justice with Dignity and Speed,” front and center. Under the leadership of Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey and Court Administrator Harry Spence, judges and court staff meet regularly to track progress in implementing the plan adopted last June.
Any strategic plan worth its salt includes a vision defining what will constitute success for the Trial Court. Here is just a small sampling of the elements we like:
- “Massachusetts [will be] a national leader in delivering quality justice to all.”
- “Litigants, attorneys, witnesses, jurors, and all other users of the court system [will be] unfailingly treated with dignity and respect.”
- With optimal use of resources and advanced technologies, “cases [will] move expeditiously through the system [with] minimal wait times.”
- “Processes and standards [will be] consistent within each department and appropriately consistent across departments.
- Court facilities will to “up- to- date, accessible for all and secure.”
Court staff will play an important role in assuring successful implementation. They have embraced the plan, and expressed enthusiasm for collaborating with judges in ensuring that users of the court come away with a new respect for our third branch of government.
We are especially pleased that “Strengthen relations with the Legislative and Executive branches” is a specific goal spelled out in the plan. Given the importance of the work of the Trial Court for both criminal and civil cases, adequate funding is essential for realizing the vision outlined in the strategic plan, and the BBA expects to be a staunch partner in any and all advocacy efforts.