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Paul, Weiss and the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts Release First Report and Recommendations on Online Courts

November 17, 2020 Download PDF

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, together with the New York State Unified Court System, announced the release of a report outlining goals and initial recommendations for the development of an online court system in New York.

The report was issued by the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts, which was appointed by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore in June and charged with providing short-term recommendations for the reopening of in-person operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as long-term technical and other innovations. Commissioners and co-chairs of the online courts working group Brad S. Karp, Chairman of Paul, Weiss, and Mylan L. Denerstein, litigation partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, produced the report with a team that included Paul, Weiss litigation partner Brette Tannenbaum and litigation associates Jacobus Schutte, Kate Gadsden, Daniela Lorenzo and Sam Margolis.

The guidelines and recommendations contained in the report are based on extensive research of online dispute resolution programs across the country, discussion with online courts experts, and interviews with various stakeholders in the Unified Court System, including public defenders, prosecutors, legal services providers, pro bono organizations, court administrators, judges and judicial staff. The report outlines three key principles to guide the implementation and administration of an online court system in New York: decrease the access to justice gap; increase court efficiency; and ensure fairness across the judicial system. The report’s initial recommendations include the development of a centralized online court portal that would consolidate and standardize the websites of individual courts and the immediate launch of an online dispute resolution pilot program in New York City Small Claims Court, as well as the development of additional pilot programs.

“We are thrilled to announce the release of this groundbreaking report,” said Karp. “We believe the initial recommendations contained in the report will go a long way towards establishing an enduring online court system that offers crucial remote accessibility during this unprecedented pandemic, while ensuring that all participants in New York’s court system continue to have equal access to the justice they deserve.”

“During COVID-19 we have come to appreciate that a court is not just a place, but a service provided to the public. The report’s initial recommendations will help build a virtual court system for New Yorkers — one that leverages technology and the Internet to enhance efficiency and broaden access to the rule of law and administration of justice,” said Commission Chair Henry M. Greenberg, partner at Greenberg Traurig LLP and immediate past president of the New York State Bar Association.

The report is available via the link: http://www.nycourts.gov/whatsnew/pdf/OCWG-Report.pdf.

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