The National Judges Association (NJA) was founded in 1979 by judges dedicated to the promotion of the interests of all non-attorney judges. The mission of the organization is to preserve the existence of the non-attorney judge and to foster improved performance of traditional duties of the non-attorney judges. By becoming a member of this organization, one can contribute to the efforts to preserve and strengthen the tradition of the non-attorney judge in the United States. Every effort is made to provide support for, and the continuation of, the non-attorney judge in the United States judicial system. The non-attorney judge has made a profound and indelible mark on the American judiciary. The NJA recognizes that the elimination of the non-attorney judge would be to the detriment of our nation’s legal system. The NJA has been instrumental in fighting legislation in several states directed toward the elimination of the non-attorney judge. Financial assistance was granted in several states to help the non-attorney judges there form an organization of their non-attorney judicial officers and to assist in educating them. In particular, financial assistance was provided to the non-attorney judges in Vermont to help with the establishment of their state association.


NJA membership offers numerous opportunities for the limited jurisdiction judge to further his/her professional career. The Annual Education Conference is held in the spring of each year at a location chosen by the Council of State Representatives of the NJA. The focus of this four-day conference is the continuing education of the limited jurisdiction judge and features excellent and challenging classes. In an effort to better serve the membership, this conference has been held in many different locations over the years. In addition to superior education for the judge, the spouse and family are encouraged to attend and take advantage of comfortable accommodations and side trips that are available. Spouses find many activities to occupy their time while “the Judge” is in class. Events organized by the NJA offer opportunities to meet with judges from many areas to exchange ideas and experiences. NJA’s broad-based membership and support network allows for important professional contacts and provides assistance in resolving issues. The NJA conducted educational conferences for Municipal and Justice courts in Oregon. Educational conferences have also been funded and conducted by the NJA in the states of Iowa and Oklahoma.


The National Judges Association Education and Research Foundation, Inc. provides scholarships for the limited jurisdiction judge. The scholarships may be to the National Judicial College, The American Academy of Judicial Education at the University of Mississippi, or to the Annual Education Conference of the NJA.


The prestigious Kenneth L. MacEachern Memorial Award is offered each year and presented at the annual NJA Education Conference. Non-attorney judges are nominated for this award based on their outstanding achievements at the local, state, and/or national level.


Assistance was provided in both Oregon and Arizona for the purpose of defeating legislation that would eliminate Justice of the Peace courts in those states. Separate Amicus Curie Briefs were filed in both New York and Nevada court cases involving non-attorney judges. Testimony was provided before the ABA in San Antonio, Texas; Sacramento, California; and Phoenix, Arizona; during hearings on non-attorney practice of paralegals in the United States.