Time for a “this and that” blog post! Several items have caught my attention over the past few weeks that I think are worth passing on to our Vantage Point readers:
- During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic there has been a widespread expansion of telework by both private and public sector workers. Telework has enabled countless organizations, including courts, to continue functioning on at least a basic level around the world. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the pandemic to target government institutions. A recent article in Government Technology, “COVID-19 Has Given Hackers an Unfair Advantage, Experts Say,” highlights how phishing and ransomware attacks have increased (https://www.govtech.com/security/COVID-19-Has-Given-Hackers-an-Unfair-Advantage-Experts-Say.html). Without adequate cybersecurity practices, teleworking can expose workers and their organizations to successful cyberattacks.
- This item in the latest JUR-E Bulletin (https://www.ncsc.org/newsroom/jure) from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) caught my eye: “The Online Courtroom Project Examines the Dynamics of an Entirely Online Jury Trial—Its Findings Are Instructive” The Online Courtroom Project (OCP) describes itself as “an advisory task force on the psychological, behavioral, communication, and technical elements of online courtroom operations for criminal and civil matters.” It aims to provide “research and recommendations to the courts and the legal profession to improve the efficacy of online operations in all aspects of the criminal and civil litigation process, including but not limited to, pre-trial, alternative dispute resolution (‘ADR’), and trial.” With an ever-increasing backlog of jury trials caused by the pandemic, courts and attorneys are searching for ways to begin jury trials during the public health emergency. To learn about the opportunities, challenges, and limitations of conducting online trials, the OCP demonstrated a totally online, two-day, civil jury trial in front of live observers. The endeavor tested many operational procedures such as virtual spacing of the jury room, courtroom, sidebar, and attorney-client conferences. The 83-page final product includes a series of cogent recommendations that will likely benefit court administrators and trial participants as jury trials resume in the months ahead.
- The National Association for Court Management (NACM) has just completed its latest update to the NACM Core Competencies, this time in the “Purposes & Responsibilities” area. The update can be found at https://nacmcore.org/purposes-responsibilities-review-completed/. As always, the NACM Core is a fabulous resource for all court professionals.
- The latest Keep the Joint Running from Bob Lewis has excellent advice on COVID-19-era Leadership: Leadership calls for competent execution of eight tasks: (1) Setting direction, (2) making decisions, (3) staffing, (4) delegating, (5) motivating, (6) managing team dynamics, (7) establishing culture, and (8) communicating. They comprise the job description for anyone in charge of an organization. Check out the full article at https://gem.godaddy.com/p/fcb3111?pact=565067-159389275-10170502140-7aace0550e177b4836eaed1478c0c03a735d55a4.
- Last but certainly not least, I have become a fan of the NCSC’s “Tiny Chats” series of video podcasts, which is just one of the resources the NCSC is providing on its Coronavirus and the Courts webpage (https://www.ncsc.org/newsroom/public-health-emergency). The hosts, Danielle & Zach, keep it both informative and entertaining. A recent episode on High Volume Dockets is a good example. Go ahead and subscribe to Tiny Chats at www.ncsc.org/tinychatsubscribe.
I hope you find these items interesting and helpful. It is important in these times to stay informed and keep working to advance the cause of justice in our courts.