ILNews

Attorneys urged to learn court technology

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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Ever worried about what happens if you don't know, understand, or use courtroom technology correctly in preparing for trial?

A new video from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana offers a glimpse into the possibilities, from the dramatic portrayal of a federal judge dozing off during trial to a nervous attorney sweating profusely in court when jurors and courtroom staff can't hear him.

After updating its Web site and revising a video on the Video Evidence Presentation System late last year, the court is using the month of April to urge attorneys to view the video and learn about using court technology to their benefit in preparing for litigation. The video is available online here, and the court is hosting two seminars in the next week to help familiarize trial counsel with available technology.

The online video is divided into nine categories and shows a trio of attorneys preparing for a trial before Chief Judge David F. Hamilton. The video uses dramatics to show one of the attorneys covered in sweat while addressing the jury, Judge Hamilton dozing in his chair, and an introduction by Judge John D. Tinder - now on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals - who talks about the importance of technology.

The video gives attorneys an introduction to the VEPS, explains its benefits, and offers tips on preparing for trials, according to court historian Doria Lynch. The court's aim is to have as many attorneys as possible trained on the system.

Jill Zengler, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District, demonstrates how to use the pod and document camera, while John Maley with Barnes & Thornburg explains using the video recorder and witness touchscreens, Kathleen DeLaney of DeLaney & DeLaney discusses laptop connectors, and Offer Korin of Katz & Korin discusses audio devices.

Aside from viewing the video online, attorneys can also attend two seminars this month on courtroom technology. An Inns of Court seminar set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis is called "Enhancing Professional and Trial Skills Through the Use of Technology." Another at 10:30 a.m. April 15 will be an Indiana Continuing Legal Education Foundation employment litigation program on how trial counsel must be familiar with that technology. That seminar is at the ICLEF conference facility at 230 E. Ohio St., Indianapolis.
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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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