Episode Notes

In this episode, Zack talks with Judge Scott Schlegel about using technology in courtrooms and how it’s made his processes more efficient. He encourages anyone in law to apply basic business principles to their workflows and offers suggestions on how to implement technology at a basic level.

Links from the Episode

Judge Schlegel’s Website

Louisiana District Courts Online

  • 7:11. Using technology to make workflows more efficient
  • 17:44. Can we do everything in the courtroom virtually?
  • 20:19. Using asynchronous communication
  • 26:13. Access to justice with technology

Transcript

Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts

Ashley Steckler (00:35):

Hi, I’m Ashley Steckler.

Zack Glaser (00:36):

And I’m Zack Glaser. And this is episode 398 of the Lawyerist podcast. Part of the Legal Talk Network. Today I spoke with Judge Schlegel about how judges can use technology in their courtroom.

Ashley Steckler (00:48):

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Albatross Legal Workspaces, Postali and Posh Virtual Receptionists. We wouldn’t be able to do this show without their support stay tuned. We’ll tell you more about them later on.

Zack Glaser (01:00):

So Ashley, I’ve been going through a book again, again, again, and in chapter 13, we talk about people and staffing in there. We talk about how every law firm, whether you like it or not has a culture. Yeah. And if you celebrate birthdays, you have a culture of doing that. If you show up at work every morning, angry and cranky, you have an angry and cranky culture, but it’s easy for us to say that in the book. And just say, you should have a culture, you should have a good culture, but it’s not so easy necessarily like kind of put the rubber to the road on that.

Ashley Steckler (01:41):

Yeah, absolutely. I think sometimes when we think about and, you know, say yes, you should have a culture often, it’s difficult to understand what is reflective of that. What is part of the culture? What are those repeating patterns? What is the environment like? What are the interpersonal relationships like? What can we count on as consistent things? When we show up at work, when we show up, you know, in team spaces, what does that actually look like? How do we take our culture and values and actually make ’em reflective in how we work and the way we work and the way we show up at work.

Zack Glaser (02:22):

Right? Because when I think of this and when I initially go into this chapter and before I get kind of into the guts of it, I think, oh, you know, you wanna have a nice culture where everybody gets along, which is great. Yeah. We, we want to get along with people, but that’s not necessarily the culture that you want to put out there. For example, the CEO of the company needs to have some control and be in control of meetings and things like that. But yet they may not wanna be pushy or, I don’t know, overbearing or whatever, but that’s part of your culture too, is establishing those relationships between individuals and between roles.

Ashley Steckler (03:02):

Yeah, for sure. You know, I think sometimes there are things about our roles, things about our positions and accountabilities, you know, that we, maybe that day would rather not be the one to own that particular part. I don’t wanna own that particular part in the way that I’m going to need to, to get, to get to our end goal. . But I think part of company culture is understanding that there are different roles, but there’s also enough consistency in having the comfort to be able to say, this is part of my role. , Here’s why I’m showing up this way. We have that with lots of different people on the team, you know, I’m going to wear my certain hat and this is what needs to come out of that certain hat, but to also have the interpersonal relationship and, and the atmosphere to understand that yes, that is what needs to come out of that role.

Zack Glaser (04:00):

But I, I think when we have those sorts of conversations, it is easier to do when you understand what works for people, how to communicate with them. And I think for us, a lot of that comes from things that we do to create our culture, you know, team meetings that we have the taco Thursdays, and a lot of people are gonna get mad at us for taco Thursday instead of taco Tuesday. But it’s on Thursday and yes, it has tacos sometimes, but our taco Thursdays, we have the, the team meetings and it’s just kind of a get together and we play games and, and it’s virtual. I don’t know that we’ve ever had one in person, right?

Ashley Steckler (04:40):

No, we’ve never had one in person. We hang out. Yeah. We talk, it’s a space where we can be casual. Mm-Hmm, , we’re intentionally more casual so that we have a bigger rounder fuller. I know you, you know me, we know what’s happening, you know, mm-hmm, , we’ve had podcasts about this in the past, but it creates a more secure level of trust to be able to confront some of those conversations that do require candor.

Zack Glaser (05:06):

I think that’s a good way of putting it because it is about building relationships, but it’s not about everybody being super happy, hold hands, friends all the time. It’s not gonna happen in a group of people. You get two people together and they’re not gonna be perfect friends all the time, but it is about creating those relationships and creating some sort of culture and values that everybody can kind of go to in the middle.

Ashley Steckler (05:32):

Yeah. And so that’s part of our company values, but that’s also part of our company culture that we know to have and expect that kind of conversation and candor.

Zack Glaser (05:45):

Well, now here is my candid conversation with Judge Scott Schlegel.

Judge Schlegel (05:51):

Hi, I’m Scott Schlegel. I’m a judge in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana trial court, judge handling general jurisdiction, criminal, civil and domestic

Zack Glaser (05:59):

Judge Schlegel. Thanks for being with me. I think that the intro there might be a little short of what people really know you for our audience, you know, as a judge, that’s very technology forward in your courtroom in the parish and have been frankly since before COVID, but just have been ramping these things up in the midst of COVID after COVID and all that. So I think people know a little differently than that, but I really appreciate you being here and talking to us about technology in the courts.

Judge Schlegel (06:30):

Yeah. Thanks for having me, Zack appreciate the time.

Zack Glaser (06:32):

Absolutely. So I do want to talk a little bit about what kind of technology you guys are using in the courts, because I think it is impressive to see what you’ve put together. You’ve got your systems, you actually have your, you publish your tech stack on your website, right?

Judge Schlegel (06:48):

Yep. Yeah. No reason for anybody to reinvent the wheel and if they can do it better, just tell me, so I don’t have to go find something

Zack Glaser (06:55):

That’s absolutely right. So, so you’ve been using, you know, things like slack and zoom, and actually, I think you use a piece of software that actually lets people check into the court in order to make it easier to go to where they need to go. Frankly.

Judge Schlegel (07:11):

Yeah. We use a, we use a ton of different off the shelf products that anybody can use. And you know, I always start with this, Zack. I always tell em, look, understand your workflow first and foremost, the tech stack is really the easiest part of this. I mean, you have these companies that have spent, God knows how much money developing these softwares, but nobody has really thought through the justice workflow because it is so unique and it is so nuanced and it is so fast. And so when you’re looking at it, you really need to break it down to civil justice workflow, criminal justice workflow, and then nuance it from there, with the types of hearings that you’re you’re handling. So, you know, Zoom might be great for one type of hearing, but it is horrible for another type of hearing. And so as you’re going through this, you really need to, to truly sit back and sit down and say, what’s my workflow from start to finish. And then just kind of look through your daily life of, you know, what do I do on a daily basis?

Zack Glaser (08:09):

What’s gonna help me actually move that workflow forward. You know, I think that’s great advice and that’s good advice for anybody, even if they’re not in the courtroom. That’s the whole concept. I think of integrating technology into your practice tech for tech’s sake is not really helpful, but if you’ve got your processes written down

Judge Schlegel (08:27):

And it’s expensive, if you don’t know what you’re doing

Zack Glaser (08:31):

That’s, you know, we’ll wind up having like lasers and things like that. You wind up with, well, you wind up doing video things when it’s really just a phone call might be the best way to do something because that’s what your, your workflow needs, you know?

Judge Schlegel (08:44):

Yeah. And to that point, I have a scheduled a phone call with me on my website. So, you know, I always require the civil lawyers to have a, a face to face official. Everybody’s dressed in court attire on Zoom for the first, Hey, how you doing? Where are we going with this case? But then I tell lawyers after that, look, we’ve done the formalities. I’ve read all of your pretrial orders. If you just need something, just schedule a call. I’d do it from seven in the morning till nine o’clock right before court, 15 minute slots, just jump on the phone, call my conference call. We’re done. We can say, yeah, go do this.

Zack Glaser (09:19):

Yeah, that’s easier than, than I have ever really been able to, to interact with the court, my, you know, my time going to court. But it, there are those things that we have the technology to make this stuff, I guess kind of like what dreams are made of like, I would love to be able to just pop into the judge’s office, you know, 15 minutes before I go somewhere else, even, you know, and you’ve got the technology to do that. And I think that’s fantastic thinking, well, how can I make this better for all the parties in this system?

Judge Schlegel (09:48):

Yeah. Look, everybody understands the role of the judge and the importance of that role. That doesn’t mean I have to ignore everything else about everybody else’s time. You know, look, I value your time. The very first dollar I spent when I got elected in 2013 was a digital clock that I purchased and put above my door, leading out into the courtroom. And if I am not out by the time I say, I’m out call the police. Something has happened because I value your time. That doesn’t change the roles. It doesn’t mean, you know, that you’re now in control. It’s I value your time. And at the very least, you may not like my decision, but you’re gonna think I actually valued your time. Understood and appreciated your position and just disagreed. And now we can all move on and feel like justice was done. Whether you agree with me or not.

Zack Glaser (10:39):

I think that’s a great point, cuz that I have rarely seen and I’ve seen it, but I’ve rarely seen somebody say, I don’t like this court because this judge is deciding something differently. People generally don’t like court or the court system because they feel like it’s built unfairly for them or that they’re not able to get to the right person.

Judge Schlegel (11:01):

Yeah, look it, our workflows are inefficient. And how do I use simple technologies to make it more efficient? And look, I’m not an advocate for tearing down the court walls and saying, we don’t need a physical building. But I’m an advocate for is let’s use that physical building when it’s necessary and everything else, all the administrative nature of what we do, 90% of what we do, I can solve with a website and online calendar and some forms.

Zack Glaser (11:28):

Right. And that’s, you know, that’s running a solid office, even. That’s kind of the, the basics of that.

Judge Schlegel (11:34):

Yep. These are business principles.

Zack Glaser (11:36):

And at the end of the day, that’s what you’re running there. It’s just a business that is, you know, public facing public serving. So yep. Again, you’ve talked to a good deal of people and I think that you, whether on a podcast or off podcast about how you’ve set things up in your, your specific parish, what I’d like to get into a little bit is what are some of the difficulties that you see coming up again? And again, as you try to implement these things, are you seeing pushback from different areas as you implement these in your court?

Judge Schlegel (12:06):

Yeah. You know, it’s easy for both you and I, and everybody listening to this podcast to say there’s an online calendar, just do it. It costs $150. Right. You know, but most people don’t really, most lawyers, most judges, they’re not technologists, and most technologists are not judges or lawyers. Right. And it’s really hard to understand each other’s world. And so, you know, we can broad stroke this and say, well, why don’t you put your calendar online? Well, I mean, I say that all the time, just put your calendar online, but there’s a lot more to it than that. I mean, who’s going to build the website for you. Who’s gonna embed that calendar who is going to change the language on that calendar. Who’s gonna set up, how many reminders do you want? Do you want text and SMS or SMS and email do you wanna send a zoom link?

Judge Schlegel (12:56):

Do you want it to be the same zoom link or a different zoom link? Are we doing a group? Are we doing a one to one? So these are a lot of different things to think through that. If you don’t play with the technology or understand it, you’re not on the same page. So you and I can say API and say, oh, well, I mean, I’m just gonna integrate the clerk system through an open API with my Calendly and it’s gonna automatically schedule when the clerk of court pushes a button. I’ve done that. Right. We’ve done that here. Right. But I’ve done that and , you know, right. You can’t scale that. And so it’s really hard. Most courts don’t have it period. And if they do have it, their, it departments are your typical, Hey, I’ve got the server running, I’ve dealt with the court reporter’s software and here’s your laptop with outlook on it and that’s it.

Zack Glaser (13:45):

That’s exactly right. And that’s just that I think is phenomenal in the court. A lot of times, you know, I I’ve dealt with, with attorneys that I was going back and forth with and they’ve said, well, just email my assistant and she’ll print off the email and I’ll, I’ll look at it. And this was just like three years ago in Tennessee. So when a court has that, even I’m pretty happy with it, but you’re right in practice or in court, there are a lot of places for kind of a liaison technologist in a sense, somebody that understands, you know, you can’t use Zoom for certain things. If it’s not secure because people have, you know, certain things or we have a right to, if you’re in a criminal case, you have a right to see who’s accusing you of things. And so we can’t do this over the phone. We can’t do things a certain way, even though it might be easier.

Judge Schlegel (14:33):

Yeah. And you can take this to the firm level. When I started and went to the big downtown firm, I was handed at Dictaphone. I mean, you know, and I’m quite sure that Dictaphone is still used in plenty of firms around the country. Right.

Zack Glaser (14:46):

Plenty.

Judge Schlegel (14:47):

Is not an efficient way to draft a memo

 

Zack Glaser (14:52):

 Right, right. We’ll, we’ll do Dictaphone and then hand it off. But yet those ideas are coming back. You know, if you want to talk into something to create a memo, you can do that. Maybe don’t use Dictaphone. Right. You can use some voice recognition software, but it does take a little bit of knowledge of what’s out there. So how, how did you come to kind of be in the position you’re in, where you have the knowledge of what’s out there? Did you just say, you know what, I’m really frustrated with this. I’m gonna go gain it or did you have it and kind of bring it in with you?

Judge Schlegel (15:23):

Yeah, no, I mean, that’s one of the, one of the main reasons I ran for judge is I saw the inefficiencies and effective of a system. So, you know, I was again, worked at a big downtown law firm then became a prosecutor. And when you live and breathe, the courtroom, you just go, wait, why is that the way it is? And so, you know, I actually quit my job and ran for judge and, and was elected in May of 2013. And from day one, I started the process of one process at a time calendaring. Why does every clerk have this big red book? And they have scribble scratch in there to calendar hearings. Why do you, the lawyer have to send a runner or call and leave a message or come in and yourself and say, can I have a date to schedule something? It makes no sense to me. So I took the big red book and I was not liked by my minute clerk for yeah. A few weeks.

Zack Glaser (16:14):

I could see that. I could see, and I know exactly what book you’re talking about. I, I have been there standing, looking at the calendar and, and trying to figure out a time myself in a county that I drove to two hours away just to do that.

Judge Schlegel (16:28):

Right. And look as from a judge’s perspective, I didn’t know what was set. So how am I supposed to get ready for your cases, if I’ve gotta go to this same gatekeeper. So I took the book, put my calendar online, said, call opposing counsel, make sure it works for everybody. Put it on the outlook calendar, file your rule, dump a button, push it on your outlook calendar. And I’ll send you a Zoom link for full integration. Oh, and I’ll text an email remind you so that a week before the hearing, you’re gonna get a reminder and you’re gonna call Zack on the other end and say, do we need to go see judge Lael for this nonsense, this silly discovery dispute we’re having. Right. And the answer is no. And then you’re gonna fax me a letter. And that came off my docket with the push of a button that’s automated.

Zack Glaser (17:12):

That’s the thing that I’ve seen in looking at your stuff is that all of this stuff leads to how do we make this justice, you know, kind of in, in quotes or, or big capital Justice, how do we make it move more efficiently? Yep. And it seems like you’re coming from that, like, and that means that I’m not saying, or you are not saying, how do I make my life easier? How do I make these specific attorneys’ lives easier? Or how do I make these, you know, criminal defendants or, or civil litigants’ lives easier? How do I make justice move forward?

Judge Schlegel (17:44):

Yeah. Look easy. Easier. May not be the word it’s, you know, and cuz you know, justice system is not easy. Yeah. You know I’m doing the whole business model. Let me push back on that for a moment. You know, it’s more of a, how to make the process more efficient? Yeah. And more effective because sometimes the easy way is not the right way. Even though where there is an easier way to get a witness on the stand, that’s not the right way. I, it should be hard for you to come in here and do that. You know? So

Zack Glaser (18:15):

That’s a good point. And, and I, I think that actually brings into the idea and first thing I, I love it when people push back on this because I’m not gonna get frankly, most things. Right. So I appreciate you kind of threading that needle, but the point is some places you do have to have this gravitas of court. Yep. And I think a lot of times when people say we’re gonna have virtual hearings or we’re gonna have virtual court, they think of losing that gravitas. And I know for me personally, I did a lot of civil litigation having somebody come in and us saying our pieces in front of a judge individually to the judge. And then the judge makes a decision and they’re either in a suit and tie or a robe, but they’re sitting generally above us and that makes this other person or me, but this other person feel okay, justice has happened.

Judge Schlegel (19:06):

I agree that we cannot lose that feel. I think that it is important. And I think that it’s necessary, especially when you’re dealing with dispositive motions or you’re dealing with jury trials. I think it’s important to be here physically. But again, I go back to the, now let’s take everything else that leads up to that moment and make it more efficient and more effective. Cuz sometimes look, if you can defend why we need to do it slower, why we need to do it harder, that’s fine. Defend the position. Sure. You cannot defend that big red book. You can’t, there’s no defense to that big red book.

Zack Glaser (19:44):

That’s true. That’s true. Well, and kind of going to like pretrial issues, pretrial motions or, or just, you know, meetings in order to say, Hey, has everybody really thought this through? Cause I think that’s important. A lot of times in court keeping us out at trial saying, have you guys really tried to figure this out or not? I’ve had those types of meetings while I was in Estonia on vacation. Right. But it’s over the phone. Okay. Well that’s still using technology to deal with this thing. Instead of making two parties come in, use up the judges’ time, use up the court’s time to deal with this thing that really could have gotten taken care of.

Judge Schlegel (20:19):

Look, I had a statute passed two years ago that allows me to hold all preliminary matters, including everything that doesn’t require witness testimony to be had on the slack channel or a teams channel. So I actually have three pilot cases going right now. Two of them have already settled and one’s still going with it. Me just going, where are we on this case at 6:00 AM lawyer at 3:00 PM goes, judge, we’re working on a mediation next lawyer, Hey @Zack, where are we at on this one? And it just pushes the case along with, with an asynchronous Slack post or a Teams post.

Zack Glaser (20:53):

I think you hit on something that really interests me with the courts is the asynchronous communication, you know, moving a case forward asynchronously. We don’t all have to be here. We’re all used to writing. We’re all used to making our points. And frankly, we don’t want somebody to have to make a decision in the moment. You know, we want them to have deliberated on that. And so the idea that I read this other person’s side and then I take a moment to come back to you. It’s pretty normal.

Judge Schlegel (21:20):

Yeah, no it look, I’ve been doing this for years in the criminal justice in the specialty courts specifically, you know, your traditional drug court model you know, we deal with eight different agencies, probation and parole, the local Sheriff’s office, da public defender, the court, the minute clerks, the court reporters, everybody. Right. And a lot of times people violate conditions of probation and the court doesn’t know about it until there’s a new victim. And so I put us all on one platform, whether it’s Slack or Teams or anything else. Right. And we act in real time before there’s a new victim. We can literally find out that somebody violated a condition order them remanded, have all the paperwork filed and have that individual in front of me within 48 hours any day of the week because of asynchronous Slack communications. Right? And we have built that smart supervision model out here in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.

Zack Glaser (22:15):

That’s fantastic. Well, we need to take a quick break for a word from our sponsors, but when we come back, I’d like to discuss with you where you see or how you see people being able to do this in other courts and how other courts might be able to kind of integrate with each other.

Zack Glaser (22:29):

The Lawyerist Podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionists. As an attorney. Do you ever wish you could be in two places at once? You could take a call while you’re in court, capture a lead during a meeting or schedule an appointment with a client while you’re elbow deep in an important case? Well, that’s where Posh comes in. Posh is a team of professional  US-Based live virtual receptionists who are available 24/7/365, they answer and transfer your calls. So you never miss an opportunity. With posh handling your calls. You can devote more time to billable hours in building your law firm. And the convenient Posh app puts you in total control of when your receptionist steps in. So if you can’t answer, POSH can, and if you’ve got it, Posh is always just to tap away. With posh. You can save as much as 40% off your current service provider’s rates. Even better, POSH is extending a special offer to Lawyerist listeners, visit posh.com/lawyerist to learn more and start your free trial of Posh Live Virtual Receptionist Services. That’s posh.com/lawyerist.

 

And by Albatross Legal Workspaces. When running any business including a law practice there are critically important operations that are often overlooked and ignored by lawyers. Top on that list is data security, ransomware protection, data leaks, and data backups. Those tasks can seem unimportant and time-consuming or an added cost. And even with IT teams involved, they are often misconfigured and mismanaged. 

 

Albatross Legal WorkSpaces is an excellent solution for law firms to streamline those types of operations. Albatross Legal Workspaces was built to be the all-in-one cloud office for law firms. It stores all your applications, files, desktops and servers on your own private cloud that is accessible from anywhere. No need for expensive desktop or server upgrades or unresponsive IT companies coming to the office; and the mundane yet-critical security and backup operations are seamlessly integrated hassle-free. The service also includes  24/7 IT Help Desk. Albatross Legal Workspaces covers you from A to Z.

 

To learn more and receive one month of free service please visit https://albatross.cloud/lawyerist that’s albatross with a double s . Again that is: {spelled}  A L B A T R O S S .cloud/lawyerist

 

And by Postali. Finding a marketing partner for your firm can be challenging. Are you getting sound advice? Is your marketing agency always working in your best interest? You shouldn’t have to worry about these things. At Postali, they believe marketing companies should adopt the same duty to their clients that is required of the legal profession. For this reason, they require that all team members sign a fiduciary oath to act in good faith and put clients’ best interests ahead of their own. They service with care, candor, and loyalty. Postali is a full-service digital marketing agency exclusively for lawyers. To learn more about how they’re different, visit postali.com/lawyerist.

 

Zack Glaser (25:45):

So we’re back with, with Judge Schlegel and we’re discussing technology in the legal system, specifically in, in the courtroom, but in all the kind of accoutrement around the courtroom. So Judge, I wonder, you know, you’ve been able to do this in your parish and you have been kind of trying to bring it outside of that. What do you think about broadly bringing technology into the court systems as, as a whole?

Judge Schlegel (26:13):

Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a challenge to scale this, right? There’s no, like here, this is the software that you buy. It costs X amount of dollars per user per year just implement and you’re done it that does not exist in the, in the justice system. Right. And most of the softwares that are “designed” specifically for the justice system, don’t even contemplate that justice systems don’t have money. And so, you know, you, you price yourself out of everything right off the bat. It’s like, oh, this is 25 grand. Okay. Thank you. That was a great conversation. You know, I have public bid laws. Are you on state contract? Have you contemplated retention rates and public records, requests and security levels have a nice day. And so how do you scale this? And so the biggest thing the pandemic did and you know, again, I, the pandemic was awful and it’s horrible and it continues to move forward, but it, it has forced everybody in the justice system to essentially see that the four minute mile is possible.

Judge Schlegel (27:14):

And once the four minute mile was possible, everybody broke the four minute mile. Right. And that’s kind of what is happening here is everybody looks to what we’ve been doing and go, oh, that’s what you’ve been talking about. Oh, you can do it with that. And so that opens the conversation. What also it’s done is most people have upgraded their hardware and have gone through the whole, I need bandwidth of, you know, at minimum of 20 megabits per second or whatever you, you need to do it. They’ve gotten the right routers they’ve gotten. So the hardware has now been purchased. So that’s not a barrier anymore. Right. So now it’s really just kind to help folks understand and appreciate how do I take these simple off the shelf, inexpensive technologies that start layering on top of those really expensive eFiling clerk of court systems. Those really expensive servers that you’ve already purchased.

Judge Schlegel (28:10):

Those really expensive, you know, computers that you now bring home. And so how do I unify a court system when most state courts are not unified? Right. You know, we’re not a unified court system in the state of Louisiana, the Supreme, court’s not gonna tell me, all right, now here, every district court has to do this this way and here’s the money we don’t get. We don’t get a budget right for this. Right. And so what we’re really doing is we’re working on a project now I’m the chairman of the Louisiana technology commission. And what we’re doing right now is building websites for every district court throughout the state of Louisiana to look and feel the same for the lawyers and the litigants to access court. Okay. And that costs $200 a year that every court in the country can afford to build a website, right.

Judge Schlegel (29:03):

And websites, you know, you don’t think of it. It is really the easiest way to give people the ability to access courts. You can put all your forms online. You can put all of the information, all the phone numbers, all the emails, all the, everything that they need to take them through it. You can put all your zoom links on there. You can put and embed calendars to let people pick them. Each judge can have his or her own page and put their own idiosyncrasies there so that your quote unquote, local rules per judge are right there for you to access . And then if you scale that all you have to do is copy that website, build another one and have the same form for that court to fill out, give me your contact information, give me the forms that you use. And I just keep dumping, right? And those judges who wanna use online calendars, we embed ’em right then and there, those that don’t want, that’s fine. You don’t need to that’s your choice as a judge, but at least you, Zack, the lawyer can go to geauxtocourt.com G E A U X like a good Louisianan and see all the unified courts in the state that have done it. So we are at, we’ve done about 16 of the 42 district courts. And you can access all the there.

Zack Glaser (30:13):

Yeah. I like that. I like the somebody kind of creating this four people. One of the things that it does. And, and first thing, actually, I wanna back up and say, it is geauxtocourt.com,

Judge Schlegel (30:25):

Gauxtocourt,

Zack Glaser (30:26):

Gauxtocourt.com. I love that. Love that, but your office, your court is onlinejudge.us.

Judge Schlegel (30:34):

That’s my personal

Zack Glaser (30:35):

Webpage. So we’ll put that in the show notes, but on there for kind of going back to the beginning of this is your legal tax stack or the judge legal’s tax stack to see at the very least people can get some ideas of what can be done here, because I think you’re doing a lot of innovative things there, but with the go to courts it, from my perspective, it helps the attorneys have a kind of unified sort of way of approaching the courts. And I think that’s one of the difficulties, is that in the same way that there that no law practice, no lawyer practices the same way as anybody else, no judge, or, you know, judicial area is going to deal with their things the same way as each other. But I, I still think we can. And I think this is what you’re saying. We can still do this. We can still use the effort yet trying to do it is still worth it.

Judge Schlegel (31:25):

And judges can be unique on their individual judge page within that courts. But it all, you’re still going to the same judge link where you can find it, you know, you can find everything the same way as a lawyer and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Zack Glaser (31:39):

Right? So when I think of technology and I think of technology in the courts and all the courts, you know, we need technology, we need, eFiling all that. I have this grand idea that they’re all gonna be able to talk together in harmony. We’ll be able to say, okay, well, we’re gonna transfer this case from, you know, this jurisdiction to this jurisdiction. And it’s just gonna happen very nicely, but that’s not really, what’s, what’s gonna happen here. It’s kind of what you’re saying.

Judge Schlegel (32:04):

Look, you have to understand the courts. So, you know, you say the courts and everybody says the court, what does that mean? Really, Zack, what does that mean? Because I’m a judge in the 24th judicial district court. I have a staff of two or three. Then you have the clerk of court who is an elected official, who controls the record. That I do not have access to unless I’m given access by the clerk of court and he, or she has her own budget to build these quote unquote eFiling systems that can be, be transferred back and forth. So the court is made up of multiple different agencies with multiple different budgets and multiple different revenue sources with multiple different policy decisions. So when you look at this again from just a pure business perspective, and you’re like, why can’t this be done?

Judge Schlegel (32:53):

Well because there’s, u,ere’s a lot more to it than that. You know, when you’re talking about the federal courts, there’s a federal budget. Mm-hmm, , there’s a one pacer system. There’s a one I, you know, like they are a unified system fully funded by Congress, right? We are not . So that is, there’s your challenge and the difficulties. And you know, if you’re gonna start giving the courts more money from a, a state perspective, well, it’s gotta come from somewhere. You’re gonna take from healthcare. You’re gonna take from the department of corrections you’re gonna take from education? I think not

Zack Glaser (33:28):

I’m certainly not going to. Yeah. Or at least I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna say I will. I can tell you that much, but you know, your point is, is interesting there, when I think of, we need to have technology in the courts, you know, with, with the, the plural, I am thinking of how do we get the information that is, that is on the record from place to place, or how do we get the filing, but really what you have done is said, we’re going to take the place and make it more accessible or make it run more efficiently, more effectively. And that, you know, you’re seeing a lot of, a lot of benefit from just that, even when we don’t even talk about the record, we don’t talk about the, the clerks aspect.

Judge Schlegel (34:12):

Yeah. Look, as I said, at the very beginning, I’m not replacing any of the official avenues for anything. I’m saying I’m gonna layer on top using tools that you and I use every single day of the week in our private life to make the process better. For instance, I have a jury trial set on Monday civil jury trial. How do you get a bench book to the court, Zack, on a, nor in a normal world, are you gonna send a runner and have 300 pieces of paper? And that’s small, you’re gonna send me a binder that some human being had to go and punch holes in, put it in a binder, tab it, index in and bring it to me. Or are you gonna fax it to me? That fax is gonna take forever. Then I, the court have to pay all that money.

Judge Schlegel (34:56):

And my fax machine’s gonna be kept up. Or are you going to send it on a flash drive? And bring it to me. Or you remember that website? I just told you about two weeks ago, I figured out a way to integrate a upload button on my website. That’s fully integrated with my one drive. So the lawyer simply dragged and dropped all of that into my onlinejudge.us. And it immediately appeared in my OneDrive and I don’t do paper. So that’ll be on my iPad when I’m up here at the bench and it’s already fully indexed for me and it’s all PDF and I’m good to go. And everybody just saved themselves time, money and effort.

Zack Glaser (35:39):

Oh, absolutely. Well, judge, I, I think I could probably try to pick your brain forever here. I know you’ve got, you got a lot of other things to do with your day, but I, I wanna ask you kind of one more question. If a, a court is trying to do one thing, that first thing, cause you’re saying iterate into this, what do you think would be the first thing to do that has the most bang through your buck

Judge Schlegel (36:03):

Website, integrate an online calendar and put your typical forms in a PDF fillable format online,

Zack Glaser (36:11):

You know, and frankly, from my perspective, I think that’s something that is totally doable, judge. I, I really appreciate your time. Thanks for being with this and thanks for, for talking to me about all this stuff

Judge Schlegel (36:19):

Thanks for having me Zack. Appreciate it.

Speaker 1 (36:23):

The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/community/lab to schedule a 10 minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.

Your Hosts

Zack Glaser

Zack Glaser is the Legal Tech Advisor at Lawyerist, where he assists the Lawyerist community in understanding and selecting appropriate technologies for their practices. He also writes product reviews and develops legal technology content helpful to lawyers and law firms. Zack is focused on helping Modern Lawyers find and create solutions to help assist their clients more effectively.

Featured Guests

Judge Scott Schlegel Headshot

Judge Scott Schlegel

Judge Scott U. Schlegel was elected to the bench of the 24th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Jefferson, Division D, State of Louisiana, in May 2013 and was soon thereafter appointed to the Management Committee. He currently serves as the (1) President of the Louisiana District Judges Association (LDJA); (2) Chair of the Louisiana Supreme Court Technology Commission; (3) Chair of the Technology & Security Committee for the 24th JDC; (4) sub-committee Chair of the Task Force on Statewide Standards for Clerks of Court Electronic Filing and Records Retention.

Judge Schlegel, a pioneer in using technology in Louisiana state courts, was recently named the recipient of the National Center for State Courts’ 26th Annual William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, one of the highest judicial honors in the country, and was also featured on the cover of the American Bar Association Journal after being named a 2021 Legal Rebel.
Prior to his election, Judge Schlegel was one of the top felony prosecutors in the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office. He practiced civil law with an emphasis in products liability before becoming a prosecutor. Judge Schlegel graduated with honors from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, where he served as the President of the Student Bar Association.

Share Episode

Last updated July 27th, 2022