Tuesday, October 8, 2013

QR Codes for Easy Access to Calendars

The US Federal Bankruptcy Court in the Central District of California innovates with QR Codes.


By Kathy Campbell, Clerk of Court, US Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California began piloting the use of QR (Quick Response) codes as an alternative method for attorneys and others to quickly download and view judges’ calendars.  Based on the positive feedback generated by the pilot, the Court recently rolled out QR codes to all judges district-wide.

Although QR codes were originally developed for industrial uses, they have emerged as a common and quick way to access information available on the Internet. And the availability of dozens of apps to read the codes for all types of devices makes it easy to access information in this manner.  

The Court’s web developer, Kimberly Rubal, suggested using QR codes for calendars to benefit both the Court and our stakeholders alike.  With 24 active and five recalled judges, the Court has a high volume of hearings, and uses a significant amount of paper to produce calendars.  For example, in June 2013, the combined number of hearing sessions exceeded 280.  Printing just one copy of each calendar that month consumed over 11,000 sheets of paper. And since we typically print several copies for each courtroom, the quantity of paper and toner used quickly adds up. Using QR codes now limits the number of printed calendars that are generated and substantially reduces the expense and staff time required to produce the calendars.

Once the advantages of QR codes became apparent, our Clerk of Court, Kathy Campbell, shared the idea with the Court’s IT Committee.  The IT Committee, comprised of three judges (Chief Judge Peter H. Carroll, Judge Deborah J. Saltzman, and Judge Scott C. Clarkson), members of the Clerk’s Office, and several bankruptcy attorneys, all agreed that the Court should create a pilot program to test the feasibility of using QR codes for calendars.

“As a Court, we are constantly seeking cost-effective improvements to our processes and creative ways to use technology,” says Clerk of Court Kathy Campbell.  “The use of QR codes is a win-win situation.  Attorneys can download calendars directly to their smart phone or other device to review the calendar, check for tentative rulings, or see when their matter is going to be called, and the Court saves time and money.”

We are also exploring other uses for QR codes.  Since QR codes can access any content on the Court’s website, we are planning to create informational brochures that can be distributed in our Intake departments.  This will allow us to provide targeted information for debtors such as directions to 341(a) meeting locations, information for self-represented parties, or other important information on the Court’s website.  Another option we are exploring is the creation of a brochure to be distributed at bar meetings which contains QR codes linking to the Court’s various reports, publications, and programs.

Editors note: Ms. Campbell shared the instructions on how they insert the QR codes into their calendar documents.  Click here to see/download a copy.