Q. What if my docket is not interesting or worthwhile for my students to observe?
A. We would be delighted if you had your students watch another judge in another courtroom to enhance their experience. If you think they would benefit more from watching another judge for a time, certainly feel free to let them do so.
Q. Will I be paid?
A. Our judges are not paid. Most states' judicial code of ethics does not allow us to pay judges. We have been pleased to find that all the judges we have interacted (thus far) have not expected any sort of payment for the time they put aside.
Q. What do you need from me prior to program start?
A. Fill out the judicial confirmation form below. It should take just a few minutes to complete. Once we have your information, Director Kuehnert will reach out to speak with you on the phone or may drive/fly out to meet you in person.
Aside from this, we will try to find students for the dates you are available. And once we have a few law students for you, we will keep you updated (without spamming your inbox) and then send the students when the time comes.
Q. What will I know about my students coming into the program?
A. Before you meet your students, we will send you an information sheet on each one. This sheet will include their undergraduate school, law school (if in law school), contact information, a paragraph about them, and other basic information that you might find helpful. If there is anything you do not yet know but would like to know prior to start, let us know.
Q. Can I contact my students prior to their start date?
A. Yes, our scholars will be asked to contact their judges prior to program start, but you are also welcome to contact them first.
Q. Where will the FW Scholars be staying?
A. Your students will find housing near the court house where you are presiding. Most students book a hotel, Airbnb, VRBO, or stay at a friend’s or family member’s place. Because our students pay for their housing, if you know someone in the area who might like to host students, please let us know!
Q. Can my students ride with me court each day?
A. Yes, we actually encourage judges to do this. Many of our judges - especially judges that travel on a circuit - like to meet the students at their home office and then ride to the courthouse. We have found, also, that the drive to work is an ideal time for judges to explain to students what will be on the docket and what to expect. Not to mention that it really helps our students save money on gas and travel!
Q. Am I supposed to evaluate the students?
A. Not exactly, you will not need to evaluate their students via test, essay, or by any other formal means. We will, nevertheless, greatly appreciate your feedback on individual students after the program.
Q. Will we debrief after the program?
A. Yes, we will have a short exist survey for you to give us feedback and recommendations. Director Kuehnert also tries to speak with each judges on the phone after the program ends. If you have thoughts about how we can improve logistics or build the program, we want to hear them!
Q. If I have a private engagement, what is the protocol for dealing with my students?
A. If at any point during the week you are busy with a private engagement or want some time alone (for any reason), just tell your students you are leaving and where/when to meet up again.
Q. What if conversation is not happening organically with my students?
A. We have not had any issue with this with past students. However, if conversation is not happening and it seems like your student is in the ether, it is possible they did not finish their pre-program reading or have not been taking notes. We keep close dabs on each student, so let us know if something seems off.
Q. What do I do with my students throughout the day?
A. Although this is not a required regiment, you might wish to meet with your students in morning prior to court to briefly outline your day. Then have your students sit either with the clerk, the bailiff, or in the audience while court is in session.
When court is not in session during the day, allow your students to remain with you except when you have private or personal engagements. When court is out of session for the day, spend a few minutes recapping with your students. Consider doing these recap times over dinner or coffee for a few of the days.
Q. How will I plan the 3+ hours I’m supposed to spend with my students?
A. The three hours you spend with your students outside of court is not a rigid time set aside. It can be during lunch, breaks throughout the day, breakfast in the morning, or any other time you’re not performing your assigned duties.
Q. If another judge has a scholar shadowing them, is there any problem with all of us meeting together with our students?
A. No problem at all! In fact, if there are multiple judges in the area with FW Scholars, we would encourage everyone to get together for lunches. Please do this as often as you would like.