The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people work across all industries. Office workers set up their makeshift offices at home while retail workers donned personal protective equipment and set up barriers to help limit the spread of the virus. Even the legal system has had to adjust to the realities presented by the pandemic. The law can’t come to a grinding halt so, instead, many courts across the country have adopted a more digital approach to what is often seen as a very traditional line of work.
Of course, courts can’t simply completely change the way they conduct proceedings. Many of the things people expect from the legal system are quite literally enshrined in the constitution. Finding the right technology solutions to help support the courtroom experience must be delicately balanced with long-standing rules and traditions.
With interactive whiteboards, legal proceedings can go ahead and continue to adhere to the strict guidelines that help form the backbone of the legal system while offering a technological solution in a time of incredible change and challenge.
Video Conferencing in the Courtroom
Perhaps the biggest challenge to the legal system during the pandemic was the ability to get everyone into a courtroom. Between judges, lawyers, jurors, defendants, clerks, and everyone else required to make the courtroom operate smoothly; it was difficult to maintain social distancing requirements and ensure the health of everyone that stepped foot in the courtroom.
Many courts have moved to video conferencing to help limit the number of people in the courtroom at any time. Everyone probably remembers the viral video of the court proceedings where one of the attendees turned on the cat filter. While it was a humorous dose of entertainment in the early days of the pandemic, it was a great example of where the legal system is heading (minus the cat filters, of course).
With an interactive whiteboard right in the courtroom, the judge and essential staff can be in-person while others join by video conference. The larger display size of the whiteboard compared to a laptop, for example, allows the judge and any others that are present to easily see everyone clearly and monitor the proceedings. Even when courtrooms return to allowing more people to join in-person, video conferencing can still be extremely useful when having remote experts or witnesses join.
Sharing Evidence and Information
Anyone that went to high school before interactive whiteboards became more commonplace knows about the tv on wheels. It was a highlight for many kids before screens were everyone from phones to tablets to laptops. Many courtrooms rely on the trusted standby television on wheels when it comes to share video materials like surveillance evidence, for example.
Televisions have limited functionality and can be cumbersome as they are not a fixture of the courtroom. On the other hand, adding an interactive whiteboard to the space can make sharing videos much easier. With a dedicated video sharing screen available, there is little to no preparation required to prepare the courtroom for video evidence viewing. The interactive whiteboard can be positioned intentionally so everyone can see clearly and it can remain fixed so there’s no need to roll a television in and out of the room as-needed.
Plus, with the pandemic still raging, an interactive whiteboard helps reduce touchpoints. If it can remain fixed in one location in the courtroom, no one has to move anything around and this can help limit the spread of the virus on surfaces.
Technology Can Be Scaled
Perhaps the most important thing about technology in the courtroom is being able to scale to the needs of the legal system on any given day. One case may not have much interest outside of the parties involved while the next case could have major local or national media coverage. Many courts have used technology to enable media to follow the proceedings without having to open the doors to dozens of media staff in the middle of a pandemic.
Most commonly used video conferencing platforms can be scaled as-needed to accommodate larger audiences. There are also options for streaming and recording if information needs to be shared later. With an interactive whiteboard, the court can take control of their technology needs to find the solution that works for them without compromising the basic duties of the court as well as the health and safety of those physically present.
You be the Judge
Can interactive whiteboards help courts continue to operate effectively despite changing technology and an ongoing pandemic? Many courts across the country have already proven the power of updating technology in the courtroom.
To learn more about deploying interactive whiteboards in any legal setting, from the courtroom to the office, contact the experts at CDS Office Technologies today.