By James Warren, Cohort 72 – Columbia Point, Judicial Assistant II, Denver County Court

Working in the Denver County Court can be an incredibly interesting job. Whether it be a complex court case, a persistent defendant, or a perplexing legal decision, there is always something going on at the courthouse. For all it offers in a workplace, it can also be pretty inefficient. The status quo and precedent are the foundation of the legal system, but these things often are accompanied by old forms, outdated policies, and slow or inefficient procedures. One inefficient practice that I found frustrating as a court employee was mail delivery.

The court’s clerk office receives loads of mail every day from court stakeholders, and it’s important that this information is transferred to the courtroom in a timely fashion. Historically, clerks from all 13 courtrooms have walked to the clerk’s office multiple times a day to pick up mail. Because the courtrooms are on different floors from the clerk’s office, this meant we had dozens of trips going all over the court, which was wasting a huge amount of time. This was particularly hard for clerk’s who were in the courtrooms alone. We decided to apply some innovation skills we learned from the Peak Academy to save time and money in our jobs.

With the help of two other clerks, Garrett and Jenna, we designed a new and improved “Mail Run,” wherein a single clerk makes two trips a day to each of the courtrooms. This cut down significantly on inefficient movement and wasted time.

Our final step was to present this idea to our supervisors to justify the purchase of the new mail bins. We successfully convinced them that this innovation was a good one by documenting the considerable staff time savings – 277 hours! We soon began rolling out our full plan.

The mail run has been a huge success! Courtroom clerks are happier, the court has a more regular schedule, and all correspondence is expedited. Not only that, but the court is saving around $6,600 a year primarily from saved movement around the courthouse!

 

boxes
These are the boxes we use in our office to sort mail. The mail from around the office first congregates here before moving to the accordion folder.
hanging baskets
We had nowhere to reliably deliver the mail with our current setup. Garrett, Jenna, and I presented the mail run to the team of supervisors, and we received funding necessary to purchase these hanging baskets.
accordion folder
We also needed a way to deliver the mail. We found a spare accordion folder in a storage closet and received permission to use it. I created labels to show where the mail was going.
cheat sheet
Courtrooms not only receive mail, they also deliver it. There are only a handful of places the mail regularly goes, so we created tabs for each of these places and a mini cheat-sheet at the back in case someone forgets.
basket in action
A basket in action! You can see the “incoming” and “outgoing” labels I made to ease drop-off/pick-up. Looks like 3F has some work to do!
happy clerk
A real image of a happy clerk performing a mail run.

happy clerk 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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