December 10, 2020 Feature

There Is No Going Back: Innovations in Courtroom Technology Must Continue

Judge Scott U. Schlegel and Jennifer Eagan
We must reimagine the courts and design a more accessible, efficient, and effective justice system.

We must reimagine the courts and design a more accessible, efficient, and effective justice system.

Svetlana Shamshurina/iStock via Getty Images Plus

If this COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that courts—like most brick-and-mortar businesses—are not equipped to handle a crisis of such magnitude. In courts across the country, judges require large amounts of physical space to conduct most of their business. Many of the buildings providing that physical space were constructed decades, if not centuries, ago when paper and pen, sheathed tomes, and bound catalogs ruled the day. Given the technological innovations that exist now in the private sector, courts should be able to continue most of their operations and keep the wheels of justice turning during any shutdown. Unfortunately, this has not necessarily been the case. The silver lining is that courts have been given an opportunity to slow down and recognize that the age-old workflows and manual processes may not be the best way to do things anymore.

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