It's only been a little over three months, but new judge Terri Stupica is already in love with her new profession.
"You can't wipe the smile off my face. It's 10 times greater than I ever thought it would be," Judge Stupica said.
Judge Stupica traded the bar for the bench after she was elected the new Chardon Municipal Court judge in Geauga County in November. Before that she practiced civil and domestic relations law in Mayfield Village in Cuyahoga County.
Judge Stupica is one of 39 new judges from across the state who participated in the second weeklong new judge orientation session offered by the Ohio Supreme Court Judicial College. The first week-long course was held in December, after the November election but before the beginning of the new judges' judicial terms.
"Now you've been on the bench for three and a half months and you are bringing what you've learned and how it relates, which is definitely a different perspective going back to December when you had no knowledge of what was going to happen," Judge Stupica said.
Besides bringing back what they've learned to the orientation, these judges are gaining knowledge of how to better do their jobs.
"New judge orientation gives the judges the opportunity to get together as a group and get the knowledge, skills and ability that they need to do their job," said Debra Weinberg, education program manager at the Judicial College.
Weinberg said the second session differs from the first in that it offers more group sessions for the new judges.
"There are more breakouts for juvenile, probate, domestic relations, and municipal judges, so they are focusing and drilling down a little bit more on the specific skills that they need," Weinberg said.
By practicing those skills, Weinberg said the new judges have an opportunity to work on hypothetical problems or ethical questions that might occur over the course of the judges' careers.
That is already proving helpful for Judge Stupica. She said she learned what personal activities are ethically permissible now that she is a judge.
"I've learned that I can still be active and not violate anything ethically, so that's been very helpful to me," Judge Stupica said.
The orientation started on Monday and ends on April 20.