Willamette Court Study

Welcome to the Willamette Court Study, a survey conducted by Willamette University College of Law of 13 state courts researching whether there are identifiable "best practices" among intermediate courts of appeal. The full text of the report can be found in Seeking Best Practices Among Intermediate Courts of Appeal: A Nascent Journey, 9 J. APP. PRAC. & PROCESS 1 (Spring 2007).

This Web site contains the responses of the courts surveyed, as well as additional background information regarding the study.

About the Committee

In early 2006, a small group of appellate court judges, law school faculty and students in Oregon endeavored to research whether there were identifiable "best practices" among intermediate courts of appeal. The Oregon Court of Appeals faces the same challenges of its sister courts across the country, trying to be as productive and efficient as possible with a limited budget and an increasing case load. If best practices could be identified, the court could adopt some of these practices to maximize its performance. Thus, the Willamette Court Study Committee (hereinafter 'the Committee') was formed. The committee is comprised of Chief Judge Brewer, Judge Landau and Judge Edmonds of the Oregon Court of Appeals; Assistant Professor and Director of the Clinical Law Program W. Warren H. Binford, Willamette University College of Law; Professor Jeffrey C. Dobbins, Willamette University College of Law; Preston C. Greene JD'07, Willamette University College of Law; Maria C. Schmidlkofer JD'07, Willamette University College of Law; and Hillary A. Taylor, Robert M. Wilsey and Courtney L. Quale, J.D. candidates at Willamette University College of Law.

The authors of Seeking Best Practices Among Intermediate Courts of Appeal: A Nascent Journey committed to conduct the necessary research on best practices and write the report, while the appellate court judges agreed to consult with the researchers on survey design and encourage participation among similar courts. We acknowledge that the research, data and analysis on this Web site and in the aforementioned article are the beginning of an important and necessary dialogue among members of the bench, bar and academia to address the many complicated issues facing state intermediate courts of appeal. We hope our research is the beginning of a larger discussion, not an endpoint. We also hope that the information provided here will prove to be a useful starting point for others in conducting similar research in this area.


The appellate court survey was designed and administered to the 13 courts and the ensuing statistical and qualitative analysis that resulted in the report (contained in Seeking Best Practices Among Intermediate Courts of Appeal: A Nascent Journey) took place over a period of approximately 18 months. The contributors were numerous, and we recognize that if not for the deeply interested and committed work of the committee, this report would not have been possible.

We would like to thank Dean Symeon C. Symeonides and Willamette University College of Law for the generous funding and research support they have provided to make this study possible. We also would like to thank all of the judges and judicial staff members from courts across the country who devoted considerable time and resources to participate in this research. We also appreciate the immeasurable contributions of all the members of the Willamette Court Study Committee. In particular, we would like to thank Chief Judge David Brewer for his limitless efforts to encourage his colleagues at other courts to participate in the survey, as well as Presiding Judge Jack L. Landau for his considerable insights in designing the survey and providing incisive editorial comments regarding drafts of the report. Although the Oregon Court of Appeals judges contributed in numerous ways to this research, the analysis of the data collected and conclusions reached in the report or on this Web site are solely those of the authors, as are any errors made. Finally, we would like to thank David M. McKelvey and all those who contributed to this research Web site and Professor James Friedrich and Greg Henselman, both of Willamette University College of Liberal Arts, for their assistance with statistical design, review and analysis.

Contact Us

Please direct any questions or comments regarding this study to Professor Warren Binford at: wbinford@willamette.edu.

Disclaimer and Terms of Use

Text Pending

Study Data