AJS-A Strong, Rich, and Vibrant Voice

Article excerpt

It is an extraordinary honor to serve as your president. Often, one's actions can cause unforeseen consequences and this is what happened when I was offered a gift! About 15 years ago, as an active member of the League of Women Voters, I was asked to join the Coalition for Justice, a newly-formed organization in Los Angeles. Its goal was to ensure the excellence of the California judicial system. Richard Chernick, a founder, was also a member of the American Judicature Society and both organizations were closely aligned in their themes. Richard gave me a membership in AJS and I soon embraced it and its goals. So began my journey with AJS.

A few years ago we reorganized the administrative areas of AJS, forming a smaller board and creating a National Advisory Council. Among the many decisions to be made was whether or not to remain a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization or to just be a nonpartisan, nonprofit without members. Is it a think tank or is it an organization that revels in its diversity of members? We chose the latter and deliberately and consciously kept AJS a membership organization. It remains a membership organization of judges, lawyers, and public members all contributing their ideas and diverse experiences.

The diversity of the Society's membership makes it unique among national organizations that address justice system issues. AJS brings a multi-disciplinary approach to all of its work, which is reflected in the composition of the overall membership of the Society, the Board of Directors, the National Advisory Council, and the staff. By integrating the views of professionals from divergent backgrounds, AJS offers research-based solutions and models that are based on a broad range of experiences and expertise. …