“Our goal is for Michigan’s judiciary to be a national model of efficiency and service to the public,” says Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. First selected by his colleagues in 2011 to lead the Court, Young has been dedicated to transforming our state’s court system into a more efficient and customer-focused institution.
As Chief Justice, Young has promoted initiatives to measure judicial performance, track public satisfaction, adopt best practices, and implement technologies that expand public access, increase efficiency and boost productivity of trial courts. “You can’t get a cup of coffee without being asked to provide your opinion about customer service,” Young says. “I believe courts should take the same approach to consulting the public so that good work can be recognized and problem areas addressed.”
During tenure as Chief Justice, the Court has also been dedicated to “rightsizing” Michigan’s judiciary so that it costs no more than necessary for the efficient administration of justice. To this end, 25 judgeships have already been cut, saving taxpayers $6.1 million over the past four years, and 15 more judgeship are slated for elimination. The cumulative effect will be a 7 percent reduction in the total number of judges statewide and $175 million in savings to taxpayers.
Young has also supported the implementation of innovative technologies to help courts work smarter. This includes a plan to install videoconferencing equipment in every Michigan courtroom, allowing thousands of hearings to be held in “virtual” courtrooms, saving transportation costs and avoiding the security risks of transporting prisoners. In addition, the Chief Justice is spearheading a critically-needed upgrade of case management systems for trial courts statewide. The roll-out of the state-of-the-art MiCOURT system will move critical files from aging mainframes to more modern systems, while helping court staff be more efficient and improve service to the public.
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Young joined Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen & Freeman in 1978, becoming partner in 1982. He became vice president, corporate secretary, and general counsel of AAA Michigan in 1992, prior to joining the Court of Appeals in 1995. After joining the court in 1999, Young was elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2002 and 2010 to a term ending on January 1, 2019.
Young has served on the boards of many charitable groups, including the Detroit Urban League, United Community Services of Metropolitan Detroit and Vista Maria, a resource center for abused and neglected young women and girls. A former commissioner of the Michigan Civil Service Commission, Chief Justice Young was a trustee of Central Michigan University, University Liggett School, and the Grosse Pointe Academy. He is a former chair of the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce “Leadership Detroit” program. In 1999, he was named “Alumnus of the Year” by Detroit Country Day School. Young had been an adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School for more than 20 years and now teaches at Michigan State University College of Law.
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