The Digital Divide and Courtroom Technology: Can David Keep Up with Goliath?

By Heintz, Michael E. | Federal Communications Law Journal, May 2002 | Go to article overview

The Digital Divide and Courtroom Technology: Can David Keep Up with Goliath?


Heintz, Michael E., Federal Communications Law Journal


I. INTRODUCTION

The federal judiciary recently embraced the technological revolution. Select courts are now equipped with state-of-the-art technology to aid in trial presentations. Before the judiciary made the improvements, litigants had to keep pace with the technological advancements themselves, and often at a great cost. One might think that the recent technological improvements made to federal courtrooms would have widened the gap between large and small firms where the available resources are vastly different, but that is not the case. In fact, the installation of new technology into courtrooms serves to equalize what would otherwise be a "digital divide" if the parties provided their own systems.

Although large firms have greater resources than their smaller colleagues, those resources do not create an unfair advantage inside "Electronic Courtrooms" as some feared. In those courts that offer the new systems equally to both sides, it is up to each attorney to create an advantage by effectively using the available resources. As a result, Electronic Courtrooms should become the standard in federal district courts.

In addition to their usual courtroom presentations, lawyers now have a growing number of technological choices in forming their arguments. They can present cases using computer-generated PowerPoint[R] presentations and witness videoconferencing. Light pens can annotate pictures projected digitally onto flat video screens in the jury box. Additionally, filing and serving all court documents can now take place electronically. In essence, a lawyer can dispose of a case, from complaint to judgment, without printing a single piece of paper.

The implementation of this new technology makes case management easier and more efficient. Some believe that the influx of technology may give an unfair advantage to "deep-pocket" litigants. The trend toward using additional and expensive equipment in trying cases raises the question whether small firms and solo practitioners can compete with larger firms inside these new Electronic Courtrooms.

Seventy-nine federal district courtrooms and five federal bankruptcy courtrooms are now using some form of new technology, whether electronic filing or new devices in the courtroom itself. (1) Although both federal and state courts are each installing new systems, this Note will focus primarily on the federal model and the advances made there.

Part II of this Note introduces the technologies available to lawyers when trying cases in the Electronic Courtrooms. This includes the equipment physically used in the courtroom and hardware used outside the courtroom. This Note also provides a brief overview of the types of technologies available in a judge's chambers to facilitate caseload management. The technologies introduced are available to anyone who conducts a case in an Electronic Courtroom. Parties need not move special equipment into a courtroom to the potential detriment of the opposing party.

Part III of this Note analyzes whether large firms have any advantage over small firms or solo practitioners in effectively using the new, increasingly available technology. This portion of the Note compares the actual use of technology by large and small firms, examines reactions from practitioners who used the new systems, and analyzes why small firms and solo practitioners are not disadvantaged when litigating in an Electronic Courtroom.

II. BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON COURTROOM TECHNOLOGY

Several federal district courtrooms recently invested in new equipment to become cutting-edge "Electronic Courtrooms." Three of these courtrooms reside in the Northern District of Ohio and are assigned to District Court Judges James S. Gwin of Akron, Kathleen O'Malley of Cleveland, and David Katz of Toledo. (2) Further, Judge Peter Economus's court will come online in Youngstown, Ohio in the near future. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Digital Divide and Courtroom Technology: Can David Keep Up with Goliath?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.