November 09, 2021

Patricia Gabel to Retire as State Court Administrator After Fifteen Years of Service to the Vermont Judiciary

Gabel is credited with work to modernize the Judiciary and Improve Access to Justice

Vermont Judiciary State Court Administrator, Patricia Gabel, will retire from her current role late in December after fifteen years of service to the Courts and eight years as court administrator. Gabel is the first woman to serve as Vermont's state court administrator.

The Court Administrator is the CEO of the Judicial Branch, working at the direction of the Vermont Supreme Court. In her time with the Judiciary, Gabel has served under Chief Justice Paul Reiber and nine Associate Justices and manages a Judiciary that consists of close to 400 employees and judicial officers, with a budget of over $50 Million.

During her tenure, Gabel is credited with overseeing the extensive stakeholder consultation process that led to historic legislation to restructure the Judiciary and with sponsoring several significant modernization projects that enabled increased access to the Courts through the use of technology to support electronic filing, electronic case management, and video remote hearings.  She also championed the establishment of a new center to serve self-represented litigants and others who will benefit from specialized services from the courts, including language access services.

“This has been a great privilege and a true honor to serve Vermont for all these years doing work that is critical in the lives of all Vermonters,” said Gabel. “We have tackled many significant projects in our work together to evolve to a more modern and efficient branch of government. As we face the remainder of the pandemic and its impacts on our operations, there will be greater challenges ahead. I believe that now is the time for fresh leadership and new ideas to carry the Judiciary through to the next stage of continuous improvement to our operations. I know the team is in good hands, and I will be cheering them on as they go about their work.”

Scott Griffith, a veteran of the judicial branch in Texas, Louisiana, and Vermont, will step in as interim Court Administrator. Griffith holds a juris doctor degree from Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans and has worked for the Vermont Judiciary as Chief of Planning and Court Services since 2019.

“On behalf of the Court, I want to congratulate Patti on a terrific career and thank her for her service to the Judiciary and the State of Vermont,” said Vermont Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Reiber. “Through her tenure as administrator we have faced perhaps the most difficult challenges in the history of Vermont’s judicial system. With a devotion to improving the courts she has again and again tackled the complex problems we have faced and found a way through. The progress we have made could not have been accomplished without her tremendous effort. In particular, we appreciate the hard work she has done to manage operations in the face of COVID-19 and wish her well in her next chapter. For the Court I also want to thank Scott Griffith for agreeing to serve in this interim role. We know he has the skills and experience to lead us at this time and keep the important work of the Judiciary moving forward while we conduct a national search to hire a permanent State Court Administrator,” he added.

Prior to her work in the Judiciary, Gabel worked as a lawyer and business person in Vermont, Montreal, and New York, including ten years as a partner in Vermont's largest law firm. She is a Fellow of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and taught courses in international relations and conflict resolution in the Department of Political Science at Concordia University in Montreal.  She is the Founder and first President of the International Women’s Forum of Canada and of the Vermont Women’s Forum and has served as Chair of the Board of Vermont PBS, as the first woman Chair of the Board of Cynosure, Inc., and as a board member of many other non-profit organizations. She plans to continue working and seeking new ways to serve Vermont.