Bar News - August 20, 2014
Court News: New Surveys Evaluate Clerk Performance
By: Kristen Senz
Court clerks are the public face of New Hampshire’s judicial system, and for a long time, NH Superior Court Chief Justice Tina has wanted to institute a better way of evaluating their work.
As a judge for the past 15 years, Nadeau has seen the importance of court clerks’ work, not only to those sitting on the bench, but also to attorneys and the public. Traditionally, the supervisory judge in the court where the clerk works has evaluated the clerk’s job performance, but “it’s really a very narrow perspective, and usually the judge and the clerk have a close relationship,” Nadeau said.
In a notice issued in June, Nadeau announced the new evaluation system for superior court clerks and clerk’s offices across the state. An online survey developed through Survey Monkey has been posted on the court’s website for each of the clerks, including separate surveys for those clerks who work in more than one courthouse. Each survey asks about the performance of the clerk and court staff in a number of areas and provides space for narrative comments.
Nadeau said she hopes to gather about 50 responses from members of the bench, bar, and public for each clerk.
The clerks, who in New Hampshire are required to also be lawyers, contributed feedback during the development of the survey instruments and have been receptive to the broader approach to performance evaluations.
“They have been very welcoming and open to it,” she said. “It’s been a pretty collaborative process.”
The anonymous survey responses will be made available to the clerks, but they will not be made public. All responses to the surveys must be completed online or, if completed in hard copy, submitted to the court by email at email@example.com by Friday, Aug. 29. To receive a survey in hard copy, call 603-271-2030.