The Flaschner Judicial Institute (FJI) was established in 1978 to honor the late Chief Justice Franklin N. Flaschner, a man beloved by many and admired by all. During his career, Chief Justice Flaschner was known as a progressive court reformer. In the 1970s, for example, he led the successful efforts to end part-time judgeships, and he was one of the first and most forceful advocates for the creation of the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct.
First among the Chief Justice’s priorities, however, was his insistence on the importance of judicial education. “Apart from the judicial selection process, the most meaningful factor in improving professionalism is commitment to judicial education,” Chief Justice Flaschner once said. He believed that judges who are accomplished in the law would gain the confidence of not only the bar, but also of the greater public. He understood that judges who conduct their courtrooms with competence and courtesy would better administer justice and avoid complaint and criticism.
The Flaschner Institute works to assist both new and experienced Massachusetts judges throughout their judicial careers in their continuing education and professional development. The Institute seeks to advance the administration of justice by promoting the highest possible standards of judicial professionalism.
Each year, the Flaschner Institute collaborates with local, state, and national organizations to produce a wide, well-balanced array of educational programs and publications to impart knowledge of the law, improve skills, identify best practices, and sensitize judges to an understanding of their responsibilities to the public and the judicial system. The Institute’s core curriculum includes educational offerings in Judicial Orientation, Substantive Law, Skills Training, Sensitivity Awareness, Judicial Ethics, and Community Relations.
Judges team up with attorneys, academics, medical professionals, authors, and others to plan, prepare materials, and instruct their colleagues on a full range of topics related to their work. Frequently characterized as a “self-help judges’ organization,” the Flaschner Institute enjoys the enthusiastic support and participation of the Massachusetts judiciary. Approximately 80 percent of the bench voluntarily participates each year in Flaschner programs and activities.
In our 38 years of service, the Flaschner Institute has won numerous local and national awards, including the American Bar Association’s coveted “State Judicial Education Award” given nationally to the most outstanding educational organization serving a state judiciary.