Judicial Decision Making


October 15-20, 2023


Duck Key, Florida
Haw's Cay Resort

Conference Fee

Tuition: $1,300
Hotel: $169/Night

Course Description

The Judicial Decision Making conference is designed for judges who want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and challenges facing the judiciary. The conference will cover a variety of topics, including:

  • The changing judicial environment: This session will explore the ways in which the judicial system is evolving, including the increasing diversity of the judiciary, the use of technology in the courtroom, and the impact of social media.
  • Implicit bias in the courts: This session will discuss how implicit bias can affect judicial decision-making, and how judges can identify and mitigate their own biases.
  • Intersectionality and the courts: This session will explore how the intersection of different identities, such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status, can affect the experiences of litigants in the courts.
  • Trends in judicial decision-making: This session will examine recent trends in judicial decision-making, such as the increasing use of precedent and the growing influence of public opinion.
  • Judicial ethics: This session will discuss the ethical obligations of judges, including the need to remain impartial, avoid conflicts of interest, and uphold the public trust.
  • Problems faced by judges: This session will explore the challenges that judges face, such as long hours, high stress levels, and public scrutiny.
  • Domestic issues in the courts: This session will discuss the impact of domestic violence, child abuse, and other family issues on the judicial system.
  • COVID experiences: This session will explore the challenges and opportunities that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented to the judiciary, such as the shift to remote hearings and the increased use of technology.
  • Lessons learned from remote jury trials: This session will discuss the lessons that have been learned from the first wave of remote jury trials, such as the importance of providing clear and concise instructions to jurors and ensuring that they have access to all of the evidence.
  • Guidance to jurors in remote jury trials: This session will provide guidance to jurors on how to participate in a remote jury trial, including how to prepare for the trial, how to interact with the judge and other jurors, and how to reach a verdict.
  • Housekeeping instructions for remote jury deliberation: This session will provide housekeeping instructions for jurors who are deliberating remotely, such as how to communicate with each other, how to access the evidence, and how to reach a verdict.
  • Remote testimony: This session will discuss the challenges and opportunities of remote testimony, such as the use of videoconferencing and the need to ensure that the testimony is reliable.
  • Crawford v. Washington: This session will discuss the Supreme Court case Crawford v. Washington, which established the requirement that the accused have a right to confront the witnesses against them.
  • The self-represented litigant: This session will discuss the challenges faced by self-represented litigants, and how judges can help them navigate the judicial system.
  • Judicial personality and compassion fatigue: This session will discuss the importance of judicial personality and how judges can avoid compassion fatigue.
  • Challenges to the courts: This session will discuss the challenges that the judiciary faces, such as budget cuts, rising caseloads, and public dissatisfaction.

The conference will be led by experienced judges and legal scholars, Judges Barbara McDermott and Jack Nevin. The sessions will be interactive and will provide participants with the opportunity to ask questions and share their own experiences.

The conference is designed to provide judges with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed and impartial decisions in the courtroom. It is also a valuable opportunity for judges to network with other judges from across the country and to learn from their experiences.

Meet the Speakers

Judges Barbara McDermott and Jack Nevin bring a wealth of judicial experience to the forefront, making them exceptionally qualified to lead the Judicial Decision Making conference for the American Institute for Justice. Their substantial time served on the bench, along with their profound insights into the intricacies of the legal system, uniquely position them to guide participants through the complexities of decision-making within the judiciary. Judge McDermott’s rich history of presiding over cases, paired with her astute understanding of legal reasoning and ethical considerations, provides a solid foundation for imparting the nuances of judicial decision-making. Likewise, Judge Nevin’s extensive familiarity with legal principles and adeptness at harmonizing legal precedents with pragmatic factors enable him to offer valuable perspectives on the nuanced choices judges encounter. Attendees can anticipate a rewarding educational experience, gaining a deep understanding of the art and methodology behind effective judicial decision-making under the mentorship of these accomplished judges.


Barbara McDermott (2)



Explore our conference agenda by clicking on the button below labeled Printable Agenda. Our dynamic agenda provides an overview of the daily topics and schedule. While topics may evolve, rest assured that the time schedule remains constant, ensuring you can confidently plan your day, excursions, and dinner arrangements after class. Stay informed and make the most of your conference experience.