What Is Your Court Made Of?
On most people’s calendars, February 14th was marked in red for Valentine’s Day – on mine, it was highlighted for the Daytona 500. Really, you can’t blame me – after all, I’m a car enthusiast who lives in Florida. It’s practically a holiday for me!
But don’t worry – even amidst all my revving and excitement, my wife and daughter were still showered with love on Sunday, as they usually are.
Seeing how much time I invest into my car hobby usually prompts people to ask, “Vince, why do you care so much? It’s just a car.” It’s taken me a while to come to the conclusion that I really just love to know what things are made of. The customization of everything from power and speed to simpler details like a chrome kit, heated seats, and color – it all works together to make the car not just a car, but a reflection of who you are: someone with a need for speed, or a cruiser who appreciates the scenery of a drive. A driver with an ode to classic black paint, or one who, with his bright orange trim, wants you to know he’s there.
I’ve come to realize this passion for knowing how things are made also drives my career. From eArraignment to the mediator’s ODR conferencing platform and the Clerk’s eSignature tool, I love knowing what’s important to the justice system, narrowing that down to the values of those who carry out law and order, and seeing how it all comes together to create unique courtrooms and environments all over the country.
This has become especially true since the rise of virtual courts. With many now following in step with the NCSC’s component model recommendations, I’ve enjoyed watching various courts build their own empires around what their immediate needs are, and also where they want to be in the future. They’ve been able to shop various vendors for each component of their transforming court and select best-in-class tools for each step in their remote processes. My favorite scene is when a court adopts a stand-alone tool, such as electronic filing or eCertify, and the significant difference made by that one element expands into a court-wide, sometimes county-wide, system.
Maybe you’re not a gearhead like me but, of your own interests, you too like to see what you’re made of.
Not unlike my car hobby, you probably also have a budget to stick too. As much as I want that new exhaust today, I know to wait until I can see how it fits into my finance’s big picture. But that’s the beauty of both cars and courts – you don’t have to invest in everything at once. Maybe every other quarter you add onto your existing system and, before you know it, you’ve built something better, more custom to the needs of your court and your community, than what a cookie-cutter model could have provided. Better yet, you get first-hand experience in seeing how these tools work both independently and together with other systems.
Before you know it, you’ll be the go-to for all your justice colleagues and friends, and you’ll be proud to share with them exactly what it is that your court is made of.
Excited to see what you build! For questions on courts or cars, I’m all ears.
Worth a Look: Attorney At…Paw?
“I’m not a cat, Judge.”
As Judge Roy Ferguson describes it during this Tiny Chat with the NCSC, this was the moment the entire world “laughed together” when he was unable to remove a cat filter from his video conference during a hearing.
And he’s glad! As Judge Ferguson explains, the virtual court has been pivotal in increasing access to justice and, because these moments could now happen to any of us, his viral video was an opportunity to illustrate how to handle these situations with both dignity and a genuine smile.
“Zooming” in on Real-Time eSignatures for Remote Working
So focused on standing up big picture processes, such as secure storage and delivery, that we overlooked the day-to-day functions that stitch it all together, like remote signing.
Another challenge that isn’t always so obvious is that not all electronic signing platforms are created equal. Most only offer options for clunky mouse signing (and, if we’re being honest, no one’s autograph ever looks like that choppy chicken scratch) or a limited number of preset font-style signatures that only offer your name – no titles, bar numbers, or time of signature are available.
ODR Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Part One): The “Recovering” Lawyer’s Perspective
Self-proclaimed “recovering lawyer” Joe Al-Khayat is the Co-Founder of online dispute resolution platform and ImageSoft partner Resolve Disputes Online, and the first guest on our three-part podcast series journeying online dispute resolution from its private sector roots to a highly regarded platform increasing access to justice in Courts across the globe.
Join Joe as he describes what it’s like to face the barriers of accessible justice from the perspectives of both the litigant and a stakeholder of the Court, and how these well-rounded views of his team shaped their ODR platform into a tool that problem solves for both sides.
Moving Forward with Virtual Court Elements
It’s no longer unusual for a Judge to look up from her bench and see an empty courtroom – everyone in attendance for trial, from the clerks and court reporters to attorneys and the litigants, are usually video conferencing in from their homes.
Almost a year into virtual proceedings, many federal courts are now permanently adopting courtroom technologies to solve for longstanding challenges, such as video conferences to accommodate for international parties, virtual bench and jury trials, and call-in access for the media.
In a recent news article by the United States Courts, Judges leveraging court tech in various scenarios speak to their experiences, including both the benefits and minor hiccups-turned-learning-lessons along the way. In the “Virtual Media Access in Pennsylvania” segment, for example, the article recalls the tense moment when AT&T’s server failed in the middle of the Trump v. Boockvar trial – 8,000 call-ins went silent for 25 minutes of the hearing. Despite this minor blip, corrected with public access to the transcripts to help reporters account for what had been missed, the press thought the virtual proceeding was very effective under the current circumstances.
Learn more about how courts, specifically Judges, continue leaning into virtual court tech here.
What Can We Do FOr You?
ImageSoft guides courts through the various challenges of becoming a paperless court. Our industry-leading solutions offer a component model methodology to automated workflows, improved speed and efficiency, reduced costs and proper compliance.
ImageSoft is ready to help your court system reap the benefits from digital transformation.