Thursday, January 25, 2018

This and That in Court Technology – January 2018

Kansas Sunflower Field

This month we share news about a new CMS project for Kansas, Microsoft’s Skype Interview Scheduler, Legal Tech Design’s pop-up blockchain class, a well formatted legal pleading from the New Zealand courts, and useful feature tips for the Chrome browser.


Kansas Courts Sign Statewide CMS Agreement

Via press release on January 17, 2018:

“TOPEKA — The Kansas Supreme Court today released its rollout plan for the judicial branch's new centralized case management system that will allow all district and appellate case data to reside on a single web-based platform, transforming the way the state court system serves the people of Kansas.
“Implementing statewide case management is a defining achievement for the judicial branch, which processes more than 380,000 cases each year,” said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. "We look forward to bringing the first district courts onto the platform in about 18 months and to having all courts on it within four years."

The judicial branch entered into an $11.5 million contract with Tyler Technologies of Plano, Texas, to customize and use its Odyssey Case Manager™ system. It will be paid for with docket fees earmarked by the Kansas Legislature for the project.

Odyssey was recommended by the eCourt Steering Committee, formed in 2015 to identify key requirements for a centralized case management system. Justice Dan Biles serves as chair of the steering committee and its members include representatives of the appellate and district courts, including justices, judges, court administrators, clerks, and information technology staff. eCourt subcommittees with wider ranging representation of court personnel and members of the legal community focused on specific areas such as infrastructure, requirements, and rules, and their findings were reported to the steering committee.

“Odyssey will integrate well with our existing electronic document filing system already in use across the state," Biles said. "Our rollout focuses on higher volume courts first, so we move the biggest share of case processing to this web-based environment early in the project. In the end, we expect to see improved court efficiency through access to real-time case information."

Microsoft Skype Interview Scheduler

In the Microsoft Skype Blog we learned about the Skype Interviews Scheduler function.  They write:

“Scheduling job interviews with multiple interviewers and candidates can be a complicated and time-consuming task, one that can easily account for a significant portion of a recruiter’s workload. Today, a new integrated scheduling app—built on the Skype Interviews platform—significantly streamlines the interview scheduling process.

Introducing Skype Interviews Scheduler, designed to simplify the process of scheduling interviews—as well as reduce the number of steps required to send an invite. With an embedded interview link, candidates can launch an interview directly from their calendar. In addition, Skype Interviews Scheduler can also become an integrated part of your recruitment workflows via APIs.”

I just want to add that while interviews are nice and all, how about pre-trial hearings and similar conference calls?  And with an API, it might be possible to integrate it with your CMS scheduling system?  Interesting.

Legal Design Lab Tackles Blockchain

The always busy Margaret Hagan wrote that held a “Prototyping Blockchain for Law Pop-Up Class: How Do We Teach Law Students about Blockchain?”  On January 20, 2018 she wrote:

“Our pop-up was only a day and a half — and it aimed to mix background training with active learning. It was framed as a design workshop, mixed with technical training, with lectures and hands-on activities to learn about this very new, and sometimes difficult to grasp, world of blockchain and Bitcoin.

In the first day we focused on getting all of the students and partners to the same level of basic knowledge around blockchain. Jeff and Aaron took the lead, by walking the students through the essential concepts of blockchain and how it works. For each part of the lecture, they provided activities to reinforce and think through the knowledge. They also gave special attention to the world of smart contracts, and the burgeoning ways in which lawyers are integrating blockchain and automation into transactional law work.

In day two, we switched over into design mode. The students all formed teams around different design briefs that an outside partner brought to them. In some cases it was the students who came up with the idea for applying blockchain to law.”

Read the rest on the Legal Tech Design Blog.

New Zealand Pleading Header Format

I was recently reading about the litigation in New Zealand brought by Kim Dotcom against their government and downloaded the PDF pleading document.  I must say I love the lead/header pages.  It is well organized and it makes the case/pleading information very clear.  I also learned that this has been their format since at least 1969.  I would recommend looking at the document for ideas that might be applied in your court.

Chrome Browser Features You Never Knew Existed

Last, I saw an excellent article from C-Net titled “11 Chrome feature you’ll wish you’d known all along”.  Tips include:
  • Pin tabs
  • Mute tabs
  • Block autoplay videos
  • Block notification requests
  • Quickest way to a Google search
  • Zoom out to normal view
  • Select multiple tabs
  • Reopen a closed tab
  • Start where you left off
  • See what’s slowing you down
  • Save time with autofill

Since I use Chrome as my primary browser I found these tips to be especially useful.

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