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In Profile: The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts

Statutory Authority

28 U.S.C. §§ 601-612. Congress established the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in 1939 to provide administrative support to federal courts.

Supervision

The Director of the Administrative Office carries out statutory responsibilities and other duties under the supervision and direction of the principal policy-making body of the Judiciary, the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Responsibilities

All responsibility for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts is vested in the Director, who is the chief administrative officer for the federal courts. Under his direction, the agency carries out the following functions:

  • Implements the policies of the Judicial Conference of the United States and supports its network of 24 committees (including advisory and special committees) by providing staff to plan meetings, develop agendas, prepare reports, and provide substantive analytical support to the development of issues, projects, and recommendations.
  • Supports about 2,000 judicial officers, including active and senior appellate and district court judges, bankruptcy judges, and magistrate judges.
  • Advises court administrators regarding procedural and administrative matters.
  • Provides program leadership and support for circuit executives, clerks of court, staff attorneys, probation and pretrial services officers, federal defenders, panel attorneys, circuit librarians, conference attorneys/circuit mediators, bankruptcy administrators, and other court employees.
  • Provides centralized core administrative functions such as payroll, personnel, and accounting services.
  • Administers the Judiciary's unique personnel systems and monitors its fair employment practices program.
  • Develops and executes the budget and provides guidance to courts for local budget execution.
  • Defines resource requirements through forecasts of caseloads, work-measurement analyses, assessment of program changes, and reviews of individual court requirements.
  • Provides legislative counsel and services to the Judiciary; acts as liaison with the legislative and executive branches.
  • Prepares manuals and a variety of other publications.
  • Collects and analyzes detailed statistics on the workload of the courts.
  • Monitors and reviews the performance of programs and use of resources.
  • Conducts education and training programs on administrative responsibilities.
  • Audits court financial operations and provides guidance on management oversight and stewardship issues.
  • Handles public affairs for the Judiciary, responding to numerous inquiries from Congress, the media, and the public.
  • Develops new ways for handling court business, and provides assistance to court employees to help them implement programs and improve operations.
  • Develops and supports automated systems and technologies used throughout the courts.
  • Coordinates with the General Services Administration the construction and management of the Judiciary’s space and facilities.
  • Monitors the U.S. Marshals Service’s implementation of the Judicial Facilities Security Program, including court security officers, and executes security policy for the Judiciary.

The AO in Brief

Office of the Director

  • Judge John D. Bates, Director
    Serves as the chief executive of the Administrative Office, Secretary to the Judicial Conference and ex officio member of the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference, and the Board of Directors of the Federal Judicial Center.

Office of the Deputy Director

  • Jill C. Sayenga, Deputy Director
    Chief advisor to the Director on day-to-day management, strategic and tactical planning, and operational matters, and ensures that activities of all agency elements are functioning in support of stated management goals.

Office of the General Counsel

  • Robert K. Loesche, General Counsel
    Provides legal counsel and services to the Director and staff of the Administrative Office and to the Judicial Conference; responds to legal inquiries from judges and other court officials regarding court operations; represents agency in bid protests and other administrative litigation; and coordinates and supports federal rules of practice and procedure.

Judicial Conference Secretariat

  • Jeffrey A. Hennemuth, Judicial Conference Secretariat Officer
    Coordinates the agency’s performance of the staff functions required by the Judicial Conference and its committees; maintains the official records of the Judicial Conference; responds to judges and other court personnel regarding Conference activities; and coordinates the advisory group process.

Legislative Affairs

  • Cordia A. Strom, Legislative Affairs Officer
    Provides legislative counsel and services to the Judiciary; maintains liaison with the legislative branch; manages the coordination of matters affecting the Judiciary with the states, legal entities, and other organizations; develops and produces judicial impact statements.

Public Affairs

  • David A. Sellers, Public Affairs Officer
    Carries out public information, community outreach, and communications programs for the federal Judiciary and manages web, video production services, and social media efforts for the Administrative Office.

Department of Program Services

  • Laura C. Minor, Associate Director
    Responsible for providing a wide-array of programs, services, and support to the federal judges, clerks of court, probation and pretrial services officers, federal defenders, CJA panel attorneys, and their staffs. Develops and maintains computer applications, including case management systems, to satisfy program requirements. Ensures data, analysis, and reporting functions meet the needs of the Judiciary.

Department of Administrative Services

  • George H. Schafer, Associate Director
    Responsible for the Judiciary’s budget, accounting and procurement functions; human resources functions; space and facilities programs, including courthouse design and technology coordination, long-range facilities planning, and court security. Develops and supports automated administrative systems and services for the AO and the Judiciary, including solutions and support for financial management, personnel and payroll processing, and data integration.

Department of Technology Services

  • Joseph R. Peters, Jr., Associate Director
    Responsible for the Judiciary’s IT systems support and deployment, infrastructure management, cloud technology and hosting, IT solutions and security, as well as the AO technology office. Plans and coordinates national IT policy, standards, architecture, training, and security for the Judiciary.