Before COVID-19 came to America in early 2020, “going to court” literally meant putting on your shoes and walking into a courthouse, typically a large building with courtrooms inside, and people in robes and business suits and, in some cases, more restrictive attire.
Stoked by necessity, courts sprinted toward solutions for keeping the wheels of justice spinning while also keeping everyone away from each other. Until then it didn’t seem possible that attorneys could or would appear before judges via digital screens, like George Jetson getting yelled at by Mr. Spacely over some hilarious mishap at the sprocket factory.
Pew Charitable Trust concluded an in-depth study of the courts with the 2021 release of a report, “How Courts Embraced Technology, Met the Pandemic Challenge, and Revolutionized Their Operations.” After examining emergency orders from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and court approaches to virtual hearings, e-filing, and digital notarization, the researchers wrote that it was a time for “reimagining how to administer justice.”
Was the adoption of technology effective? Were there any hiccups? Was technology widely embraced? Were the effects of new efficiencies enjoyed evenly across the socio-economic spectrum? Do we think courts will continue to reimagine how they administer justice without the crushing pressure of widespread disease?
Listen to my interview with Qudsiya Naqui who leads Pew’s research at the intersection of technology and civil legal system reform. In this role, she evaluates and tests new technologies to ensure that they further efficiency, equity, and transparency in the legal process. This work is part of Pew’s Civil Justice Modernization Project.
Before joining Pew, Qudsiya designed and implemented immigration, housing, and disaster recovery legal services programs at Equal Justice Works and the Vera Institute of Justice. She began her legal career representing immigrant women and girls seeking relief from deportation.
Qudsiya holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and human rights from Barnard College and a Juris Doctor from Temple University.
For more information about their work and the research, contact them at email@example.com.
This podcast is the audio companion to the Journal on Emerging Issues in Litigation. The Journal is a collaborative project between HB Litigation Conferences and the Fastcase legal research family, which includes Full Court Press, Law Street Media, and Docket Alarm. The podcast itself is a joint effort between HB and our friends at Law Street Media. If you have comments or wish to participate in one our projects please drop me a note at Editor@LitigationConferences.com.