Friday, November 30, 2018

This and That in Court Technology – November 2018

Microsoft Surface Hub 2

With the “sold out” eCourts 2018 conference upon us, it is time to share news about the Best Legal Apps for 2018, the LegalXML Electronic Court Filing standards, the timing for Public Access to Civil Court Filings, another Judicial analytics tool, using GitHub for law text markup and access, and as you can see in the picture, a new Microsoft Surface Hub system.

ImageSoft Blog Applauds the eCourts Conference

We hear from our friends at ImageSoft that they are looking forward to this year’s conference in Las Vegas, December 10-12, 2018.  They write:
“Presented by the National Center for State Courts, the eCourts Conference is the jackpot for innovation-driven courts across the nation. The two-day summit immerses CIOs, judges, court managers, clerks, justice administrators and all eager-to-learn court personnel in the latest trends driving court technology. Not only will these sessions keep your thumb on the pulse of courtroom IT know-how, but it’s the perfect place to network, share and hear other’s experiences, and finally address the pressing issues that have been holding your court’s efficiency in contempt for far too long.”
Thanks, and we are looking forward to seeing everyone too.

ABA Journal Lists Best Legal Apps for 2018

The ABA Journal lists several apps that can be useful to judges and courts in a “Best of 2018” article.  Of interest might be the classic A2J Author, Callistor which is a secure website that records information about sexual assaults, CourtListener that is a notification system for appellate decisions, Docassembly, and Upsolve which are document creator apps. 

Check out the full article with links here.

LegalXML Electronic Court Filing (ECF) 5.0 Review

The 38th working draft (and hopefully one that is ready for adoption at the technical committee’s face to face meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada following eCourts has been uploaded for public review.  The public download is available here.

A significant amount of work (yes again, 38 versions) has been done on the standards document to make it compatible with NIEM and to add scheduling functionality. 

Federal Appellate Courts Differ on Public Access to Civil Court Filings

Thanks to our friend Bob Rath from the Indiana Courts who writes:

“The Seventh Circuit issued a decision this week regarding immediate public access to case documents, as summarized in the Cook County Record

A federal appeals panel has tossed out a Chicago federal judge’s order requiring Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown to provide immediate public access to all civil lawsuits filed in the county, saying the judge was wrong to intervene in the matter both because the state courts had not been given the chance to weight (sic) in and because the appellate judges doubted delaying access to filed lawsuits violated anyone’s constitutional rights.

This opinion conflicts with an earlier decision in the Ninth Circuit (PDF); it will be interesting to see how this issue progresses? 

More Judicial Analytics

In an article posted on Legaltech news ( titled “Lexis’s New Context Tool Knows Every Federal Judge’s Favorite Cases” they write:
“U.S. District Judge William Alsup has ruled on 864 motions to dismiss in his career on the bench in the Northern District of California. He has granted 52 percent of them, tossed 25 percent and split the baby on 23 percent. 
The case he is most likely to cite when deciding on those motions? Cited 425 times, Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly is a watershed 2007 U.S. Supreme Court Case that raised the bar a plaintiff must plead in order to proceed. 
This kind of data—for every federal judge and for 100 different types of motions—is now available to litigators at the click of a mouse through a launch on Thursday of LexisNexis Context, the result of the legal giant’s purchase of Ravel Law in mid-2017. Context will be available as an added purchase in the Lexis Advance suite.”
The full article is available if you sign up for an account at where you can get five free articles every 30 days.  Well worth it.

GitHub and the Law

In an article posted on the Ars Technica website titled “How I changed the law with a GitHub pull request”, that I am still thinking about, the author describes how the District of Columbia legal code text had been posted on the GitHub website and that he had been able to correct a typo and was able to re-post the corrected version after it had been approved by the maintainer.

Now I very much like the fact that the DC Code had been enhanced with XML coding.  I also found that the tool for doing this “codification” is available via the Open Law Library project ( ).  I can definitely see the use for this with the court’s document tools and connection to the appropriate parts of a CMS.  But I have to talk with some of my law librarian friends who would be a natural maintainer (and definitely as an approver) for such a system for the courts to be able to be trusted in the courts?  Again, I need to think about this some more…

New Bigger Microsoft Surface Hub Displays

Last, many of our readers here know that I am a sucker for really big screens since they can be useful in the courtroom and in technical work.  Back in September Microsoft announced The Surface Hub 2 system (that rotates and clones!).  Check out the YouTube promotional video below.  Very cool.

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