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TCL > January 2014 Issue > The New Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court—An Introduction

January 2014       Vol. 43, No. 1       Page  27
In and Around the Bar
The SideBar

The New Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court—An Introduction
by Nancy E. Rice


It is my great privilege to write to you as the forty-fifth member of the Colorado Supreme Court to serve as Chief Justice. I am humbled that my fellow justices selected me to lead the 3,800 professionals who serve the Judicial Branch across my native state of Colorado. With the help of my colleagues both inside the judiciary and within the broader legal community, I will do my best to fulfill the branch’s mission and achieve its goals. In addition to encouraging innovation and efficiency in the courts, I am particularly interested in cultivating education-related and public service-related initiatives. Serving as the branch’s Chief will require a lot of hard work, but I am up for the challenge.

My Leadership Philosophy

As I move into the Chief Justice’s chambers this month, I am grateful for the opportunity to build on the robust legacy left by retired Chief Justice Michael Bender. Chief Justice Bender was an enthusiastic leader with an unwavering commitment to the judiciary and legal profession. Understanding the importance of collaboration in implementing meaningful change, he worked tirelessly to incorporate diverse perspectives as he developed and implemented solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the legal community to date. I look forward to continuing many of Chief Justice Bender’s important initiatives as they relate to promoting education, public service, access to justice, fairness, and efficiency.

In addition to Chief Justice Bender’s influence, my experience serving the people of Colorado for more than thirty years shapes my leadership philosophy. Serving as a deputy public defender, an assistant U.S. Attorney, a Denver District Court judge, and a Supreme Court justice has fortified my deeply held belief in the importance of public service and has taught me the necessity of ongoing education. Now, as Chief, I look forward to developing strategies for achieving the branch’s mission that incorporate these core beliefs.

Fostering an Ongoing Conversation

As I look to my past experiences to inform my present priorities, I recognize that my education as Chief Justice has just begun. I will continue Chief Justice Bender’s practice of visiting judicial districts around the state. I am excited to connect with and learn from the talented professionals whose service to their local communities is the heart of our branch. The diverse perspectives and innovative approaches to the administration of justice through the courts and probation services will impact my priorities and initiatives as Chief.

I plan to learn from the members of the Judicial Branch, and I also hope to learn from members of the broader legal community. "The Chief’s Corner" quarterly articles will be my way of keeping you apprised of what I’m up to. I hope my articles also will serve as a catalyst for an ongoing conversation about how we can work together to improve the courts, probation services, and the legal profession as a whole.

Community Engagement

I encourage you to make a New Year’s resolution to actively engage in your local community in 2014. Whether you choose to take a pro bono case, volunteer at a legal clinic, guest-lecture about civics in a local school, or even pursue non-legal service opportunities, every effort makes a difference. The more lawyers can exemplify the values of public service and education, the more the general public will trust our profession and the Judicial Branch to protect and facilitate justice.

Visit Us

Finally, I would like to personally invite you and your family to visit the new Ralph Carr Judicial Center in Denver. The Carr Center is free and open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. It houses the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, as well as many of the state’s legally related agencies. In addition to having a wonderful public art collection, the Carr Center offers some of the best educational resources available in any courthouse anywhere in the country, including the Supreme Court Law Library and the state-of-the-art interactive Judicial Learning Center—both located on the first floor of the building.

Thank you for reading this first installment of "The Chief’s Corner." I look forward to serving you and Colorado as Chief Justice.

Until the spring.

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