NCSC’s Jim McMillan Partners with ImageSoft for “Justice Knows No Quarantine” Webinar
May 5, 2020
The nation’s justice system remains in unchartered territory as it tries to keep essential court practices afloat amidst mandated quarantines and social distancing. On Tuesday, April 14th, the National Center for State Courts’ Principal Court Technology Consultant Jim McMillan partnered with ImageSoft for the free webinar, “Justice Knows No Quarantine: Unlocking Virtual Court Operations When the Physical Doors Close.” Jim, alongside ImageSoft President Scott Bade and Senior Justice Consultant Brad Smith, hosted a panel discussion addressing: the current challenges of civil and criminal courts, mitigation options that can be implemented in the next 45 days or less, what courts should be doing as we come return to a new normal, and how to overcome procurement obstacles when moving forward with these opportunities.
The webinar’s key message was that rooting out paper and analog systems will be key for the entire justice community. “The mobile society that we have become has led to added bandwidth that is paying off now,” said Scott, adding that the Justice System needs to prepare for the new normal of more people working and managing their business remotely. With the current momentum pushing everyone toward electronic systems, panelists encourage listeners to use this opportunity to double down on proven court technology, such as modern case management systems (CMS), remote communication tools, and electronic filing and signing solutions, among others. In terms of procurement, seeking federal grants and applying small, low-impact case initiation fees across many different case types were two recommendations for funding the future of a more digitalized court.
“We can’t let perfection get in the way of a good system,” said Scott. “Today, we need to look for easy wins that move data forward, even if, for the time being, the method isn’t as integrated, end-to-end or wholesome as we’d like it to be.”
In order to “stop the bleeding,” as Jim put it, mobile capture apps, PDF-binder tools and web conference platforms are easily applicable, short-term solutions currently within the courts’ reach. Panelists also encourage attendees to research the short-term strategies already implemented by other states, which can be found on the NCSC’s homepage. For pro se filers, litigants, attorneys and others needing safe access to the court, panelists recommend leveraging Cloud-based systems to handle simpler case type matters, such as traffic incidents, and looking at electronic filing “outside of the box.” By temporarily standing up a virtual, will-do filing system in a week or two, courts and citizens can handle their legal matters while doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.
To support the entire justice community’s sustainability efforts, ImageSoft is providing this link to the full webinar’s recording. For more information on how other states are upholding their court practices, including up-to-date, interactive maps, webinars and other informative resources, please visit www.NCSC.org.