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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government

Volume VI, Issue 12 December 2003

Line of Holly
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Judiciary Uses Web-based Survey Tool

By Jaclyn Carson and Hon. Jon D. Levy, Chair of Judicial Resource Team


Jaclyn Carson


Maine Judicial Branch’s Judicial Resource Team (JRT) undertook a project to assess the workload of judicial resources in Maine’s trial courts. The team was tasked with generating a new model for scheduling trial courts and allocating judicial resources.  The team learned on-line surveys can be a very efficient and effective way to gain valuable information from the people most important to your organization.


The JRT requested the assistance of an outside consultant, Berry, Dunn, McNeil & Parker (BDMP) in conducting this work.  Starting in September 2002, this project was unique in that the JRT used a collaborative approach, and sought to develop recommendations that would promote collaboration among the trial courts. This was accomplished through the use of a web based survey and one-on-one communication. The survey was created to solicit information from clerks, administrators, judges, and Case Management Officers (CMOs) related to objectives identified in the JRT’s charter. BDMP worked closely with the JRT to develop a comprehensive survey instrument.


Web based survey tools offer the following benefits.


·        Security – Surveys are sent via e-mail using the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) field. This ensures everyone on the list will not get the e-mail addresses of all other participants.

·        Reliability – The survey tool only allowed users to submit data once. Therefore, there could not be multiple responses from one participant.

·        Easy way to analyze large number of results - Reporting survey results is the final step in the survey process and involves the creation of a report which is automatically created by the push of a button from the data that was submitted by participants.

·        Easy to notify individuals of survey using e-mail – Notification of the survey and reminders to get participation are sent via e-mail.


Through this project, the JRT learned to:


·        Keep it straightforward and simple – If your questions are unclear or ambiguous you will get misleading responses from participants.

·        Only allow web based responses – If you allow participants the ability to submit their responses on paper, the administrator will spend a significant amount of time manually entering the results into the survey tool.


There were over ninety survey participants representing State of Maine Judicial Branch including clerks, Superior Court Justices, District Court Judges, and Case Management Officers. The data from the survey helped the Judicial Resource Team to identify changes to current processes that would promote collaboration among the trial courts. As a result of the survey, and the analysis of current operations, the JRT was able to present its recommendations to the Supreme Judicial Court. Its work was concluded in late September 2003. 

Jaclyn Carson, a Management Consultant, at Berry, Dunn, McNeal & Parker, has recently completed a process assessment assignment with the Judicial Resource Team.  Questions? Jaclyn may be reached by e-mailing or by calling 541-2267.

 Line of Holly

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