Wednesday, June 14, 2017

This and That in Court Tech – June, 2017 

In this month’s news roundup we learn about Wisconsin's E-filing activities, news about Ravel Law and Court Innovations, Google's improved ability in language recognition, and some notes about improving communication understanding.

And last, some CTC 2017 educational program agenda news.


Wisconsin Updates E-Filing System and Rules

 Via our friend Kendall Collins Smith, we learned about news from the latest edition of their “Wisconsin eFiling Update: Walking on sunshine.  There is so much news we share most of it below:

Criminal eFiling changes

Special prosecutors will have the ability to eFile criminal complaints, amended criminal complaints, and information documents.

When eFiling a jury demand, the following three document types will be available: Jury Demand for 6 Person Trial, Jury Demand for 12 Person Trial, and Jury Demand - Other. No fee will be charged for these documents on criminal case types.

Opt-in changes

Attorneys who paid the eFiling fee to opt in for a party that has since been dismissed or withdrawn from a case will no longer be charged the eFiling fee to opt in for an additional party on that same case.

State Public Defender Request for Court Record will be an available document type for attorneys filing on behalf of the State Public Defender's office. Once the clerk processes the filing, the attorney will have the ability to opt into the case.

Using the non-party filer feature, special prosecutors will now have the ability to select the Notice of Appearance document type to notify the court they are appearing on behalf of the plaintiff on a case.

An eFiler's response to the question, "Are you appointed by the State Public Defender or the court?"
(asked when opting into a case) will correctly default the associated opt-in document type based on the selected answer:
  • When "State Public Defender" is selected, filers will be required to upload a Public Defender Order Appointing Counsel document.
  • When "Court Appointed" is selected, filers will be required to upload a Notice of Appearance document.
  • When "No" is selected, filers will be required to upload a Notice of Retainer document
Other important changes

Attorneys filing on behalf of the State Public Defender's office will no longer be charged the Notice of Appeal fee when electronically filing an appeal.

Non-party filers will only be required to complete CAPTCHA once per visit to the eFiling website.

When the Petition and Waiver of Fees/Costs, Affidavit of Indigency and Order (CV-410) is filed and the petition is granted, the fee waiver will be valid until entry of final judgment. The party/attorney will not be charged fees for any documents filed on the case, with the exception of the Notice of Appeal.

What's on the horizon?

We'll be in touch soon about another release slated for the not-so-distant future. Upcoming changes involve interface improvements to further streamline eFiling and added features, like the ability to eFile amended garnishments. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.
Congratulations to the Wisconsin Judicial Branch.  Impressive work!

Court Innovations Closes Funding Round

Via press release on June 6, 2017 – “Court Innovations, the first spin-out from University of Michigan's Law School, recently closed its first major fundraising round at over $1.8 million."

"Court Innovations expands access to the courts for citizens who cannot miss work or family care to attend court, or who fear to come to court because of their race, ethnicity, or immigration status. With its Matterhorn product, anyone can use a mobile phone or computer to resolve and negotiate infractions and lesser misdemeanors. Citizens use Matterhorn to resolve traffic and parking tickets, warrants, family court compliance, plea online, or file a small claims civil case."

The press release continues…

"Almost 40% of citizens who have used the system say they could not have come to court in person. For courts, Matterhorn's online case resolution saves time, resources and money, ultimately leading to increased efficiency. Courts case closure times dropped from 50 days to 17 days, and staff time/case dropped from an average of 2.5 hours to less than 30 minutes with Matterhorn. Learn more about courts' outcomes here:

According to the Honorable Chief Judge Brigette Officer-Hill of the Michigan 30th District Court in Highland Park, "It allows officers to stay on the streets. It allows citizens to stay at home, or at work. It allows the judiciary to deal with cases that demand you come to court."

Matterhorn is in twenty-three courts in Michigan and Ohio, and is expanding to Arkansas this summer. With this funding, Court Innovations will continue to expand nationally. It has hired business development and marketing staff in Michigan and on the West Coast. Additionally, it continues to invest in its technology to make additional services available to courts and citizens."

LexisNexis Acquires Ravel Law

On June 8, 2017 a press release announced that LexisNexis acquired the legal research and analytics company, Ravel Law, that we have written about here and here.  Per the press release:

“LexisNexis® Legal & Professional, part of information and analytics provider RELX Group, today announced its acquisition of Ravel Law, a legal research, analytics, and visualization platform that empowers users to contextualize and interpret vast amounts of information to uncover valuable insights. The acquisition will expand the LexisNexis Legal Analytics suite of products through full integration of Ravel Law’s judicial analytics, data visualization technology and unique case law PDF content from the Harvard Law Library into Lexis Litigation Profile Suite® and Lexis Advance®. The integration of these tools strengthens LexisNexis’ position as a leader in the legal analytics space.

Ravel Law’s machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing technologies mine published case opinions, providing a wealth of information that helps litigators quickly uncover new insights and build specific arguments for use in court.”

“Google’s Ability to Understand Language is Nearly Equivalent to Humans”

Regarding a topic that has been asked for by courts over decades, we learned in an article posted on that the famed tech analyst Mary Meeker reported: “Google is now able to understand human language with 95 percent accuracy, thanks to machine learning algorithms that can detect speech and respond with meaningful results.

The improvement has occurred at a rapid pace. Since 2013, accuracy has improved nearly 20 percent…”

“And as Google continues to include voice recognition in more of its products, like Google Translate and its mobile and Home voice-powered assistants, the company is moving toward a future where talking to our machines will one day be as seamless as talking to friend.”

Improving Communication and Understanding

Via Margaret Hagen’s Open Law Lab blog, we learned about actor Alan Alda’s Center for Science Communication.  Margaret rightly asks whether courts can learn anything from this work.  I agree that it can.  For example, this article on “No Jargon” is a good starting point.

Also, I wanted to share an experience I had at a new doctor’s office.  Following my consultation with the doctor, I met with his scheduling assistant.  She was amazing.  We, of course, discussed the date and times for the follow-up visits. But then she printed out the scheduling documents.  Then she used a yellow highlighter to mark and then review the important sections with me.  This one-on-one attention was effective and impressive.

With the addition of all the new court technology, it seems like we could set up similar reviews with the people that interact with our court so that they can understand what is going on?  Just a thought.

CTC 2017 Agenda Highlights

The CTC 2017 conference to be held in Salt Lake City from September 12-14 has posted more information on the educational session program agenda at:

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