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December 15, 2009
Florida administrative law judges

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES from across the nation gathered recently in Orlando for the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary’s (NAALJ) 35th Annual Meeting and Conference. Pictured from the left are Florida ALJs Patricia Hart, Barbara Staros, Bruce McKibben, William Quattlebaum, Carolyn Holifield, Robert Cohen, June McKinney, Robert Meale, and James H. Peterson III.

National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary meets in Florida
The Division of Administrative Hearings and the Florida Association of Administrative Law Adjudicators hosted the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary’s (NAALJ) 35th Annual Meeting and Conference in Orlando in November.

Judge Cohen “Ensuring Due Process in Recessionary Times” was the theme as administrative law judges nationwide reviewed the status of the adjudicatory process, with a special emphasis on ensuring that parties to administrative proceedings enjoy full due process protections at a time when budgetary cutbacks, layoffs, and furloughs make the staffing and timely handling of proceedings a special challenge.

“We chose the theme ‘Ensuring Due Process in Recessionary Times’ due to our commitment as an organization and as individual administrative law judges to providing a fair and impartial forum for the adjudication of disputes regardless of the limits imposed on our budgets,” said Florida Chief Administrative Law Judge Bob Cohen. “The conference focused not only on tools for handling caseloads, but also on the use of technology, such as telephone and video hearings, and the implementation of electronic filing to decrease expenses while maintaining the fairness of the proceedings.”

Administrative Law Judge Caryn Hines from the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings said she learned a lot at the conference. In particular, Judge Hines felt that the “Access to Justice: Tips for Dealing with Pro se Litigants” session was very important for administrative law judges because so many administrative matters involve self-represented individuals.

“It was helpful for me to learn techniques from seasoned judges of national prominence. I have already begun to apply some of the suggestions on keeping unrepresented parties focused, courteous, and mindful of courtroom procedure,” said Judge Hines.

Judge Cohen was sworn in as the 2009-2010 National President of NAALJ at the annual banquet and awards ceremony. After being sworn in, he was passed the “George Washington Gavel” made of marble taken from the United States Capitol steps.

“In the coming year as president, I intend to focus on membership and education,” Judge Cohen said. “Maintaining a stable and growing membership is important to the long-term viability of the organization and will allow us to continue to provide high-quality, comprehensive educational opportunities to ALJs through our affiliations with the National Judicial College and its high quality faculty around the country.”

[Revised: 09-27-2014]