The ABA Journal recently posted an article discussing how courts are moving toward a paperless existence. The article poses the question of whether the need for mobility of judges, attorneys and citizens will soon lead to not only a paper-less court, but also a people-less court. Today’s technological advances allow for online banking and bill paying, so why should be physically present in a courtroom be necessary? Motions, briefs and notices are already being filed online, even in the bankruptcy courts, so why should meetings and hearings not be held via video? The article points out that the current ethical rules require attorneys to be technologically competent. Of course, it also points out that what constitutes “technologically competent” is a moving target, so this could cause problems. Additionally, if court documents in digital format include hyperlinks to cases or other sources and “link rot” occurs, the citations can be lost. Link rot refers to the citation being moved or removed entirely. Many experts believe that virtual meetings and hearings will increase, but others have their doubts. Will our constitutional right to a jury of our peers be handled over Skype? Only time will tell, but it will be interesting to see what happens.
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