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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Sense of Accomplishment

By: Lorella H


The past couple of weeks have been a great time at work!  I feel like we are actually contributing something to the Court, rather than just letting the Court staff contribute to our legal education.  One of our major projects is still in its early stages, but the other is moving toward completion and I'm excited to see that happen.

Bryon & I have been working on a Users Guide to filing this Court's most common type of case (applications for Letters of Administration to settle the estate of a deceased relative).  It takes an inordinate amount of staff time (up to and including time from the Judges themselves) to determine whether these files are complete, and part of the problem is that there are no instructions on how to apply for Letters of Administration, so people (even many of the advocates) don't know what they are supposed to do.

We submitted our first draft guide two weeks ago, and since then we have gotten encouraging feedback from the Registrar and Judges about what a great idea this is and how useful it will be when we have a final version that can be published for court users.  We're now on a pretty advanced draft, written so that it could be used by both lawyers and laypeople, and today the Head Judge in our division started talking about getting it translated into Luganda as well—which would clearly increase its usefulness.   She even wants to take the idea of Court Users Guides to the judges in other divisions.

It is so gratifying to think that this project is being seen as worthy of further development!  Momentum is building—I feel confident that our document will actually be printed and distributed—and used to help the Court work more effectively—even after Bryon & I are gone.

I also created a checklist for Registry staff to use in evaluating Letters of Administration files before they get passed up to the Registrar and Judges.  Initially I showed it only to Bryon and the Registrar's clerk, Tom.  But Bryon & I started beta-testing it today, using my checklist to review a few of the files on the Registrar's schedule for later this morning, and we were pleased with how much quicker the process goes as well as how much easier it is for someone to tell at a glance what is still unresolved in the file.  And then about an hour after we sent those files down to the Registry, Tom came up to ask whether he can get more copies of the checklist—he wants to start using it right away.  So I have now printed up a copy of that form for the Head Judge to review.

It feels good to feel like we are doing some good here.