Legaltech 2016 Kicks off with Technology in Courtrooms
Legaltech hosted a panel called “How is Technology Being Used in Today’s Courtrooms and Cases?” We heard from 5 different federal judges who each had an opinion on the role of technology and how it has affected courtroom proceedings. Judge Andrew Peck, Southern District of New York, explained that opportunity for new technology in trial is dwindling because less cases are being taken to trial. He also explained that “when cases do get to trial, the presentation of the trial, even in the Southern District of New York, technologies vary from the lawyer that barely has one copy of a paper for an exhibit…to the fully wired courtroom, where virtually everything is computerized, there are monitors in front of each lawyer table, and either the courtroom deputy or one of the lawyers controls which screens he wants”. However, in order to work that type of technology in the courtroom, at least those in the Southern District of New York, the lawyer must come prepared since the courtrooms are not pre-wired.
Judge James C. Francis also made a point about how technology can help attorneys in a way that maybe they hadn’t thought before. He referenced a case where the facts of the case proved to be too confusing for the jury, leading to a mistrial. The second time, the attorney used technology to simplify facts and display them in an easier way, which ultimately led to a conviction.
Judge Pamela Sargent discussed the importance of using technology only if the attorney knows how. The use of technology must be a group effort, starting with vendors properly teaching attorneys how to use their product.
It seems, however, that the jury is still out. Technology is not as prevalent in the courtroom as they would expect. Fear of the unknown and content with current practices makes attorneys reluctant to adopt new technology.
Source: Legaltech news