A Bad Name for a Terrific Idea: How Judges Can Benefit from a Renamed Special Master Profession

A Bad Name for a Terrific Idea:  How Judges Can Benefit from a Renamed Special Master Profession

The special master profession is being reinvented starting with its name.  Both the ABA and the Academy of Court-Appointed Masters are working on plans to diversify and improve the profession.  The goals are to make these professionals more useful for courts, to enable a new and more diverse group of professionals to develop skills to become judges and to afford judges opportunities after leaving the bench.  This program will: 

  • update NAWJ members on these efforts;
  • explain how these changes can assist judges, help to diversify the judiciary, and provide opportunities for judges retiring from the bench; and
  • promote a dialog on how to effectuate this exciting reinvention.

By the end of the program, participants should

  1. Gain a better understanding of what Special Masters are and the efforts to change the name to fit the services they can provide;
  2. Learn how to make better use of these professionals;
  3. Learn how the efforts to rename and improve the profession help promote judicial diversity and opportunities for retiring judges


Merril Hirsh, FCIArb, (Moderator) Executive Director, Academy of Court-Appointed Masters

Hon. Stephanie Domitrovich, Ph.D., Senior State Trial Judge, Sixth Judicial District of Pennsylvanie (Erie County)

Hon. Toni E. Clarke, Associate Judge (Ret.), Prince George's County Circuit Court, MD

Hon. Heather Welch, Judge, Marion Superior Court, Civil Division, Indianapolis, IN


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