Kindgom v. Gresham: February Fractured Fairytale

On Wednesday, February 12, local 1st and 2nd graders will be visiting the McGlothlin Courtroom for a program hosted by The Center for Legal and Court Technology (CLCT). The program, entitled “Fractured Fairytales,” consists of a mock trial in which all of the witnesses and parties are based on classic fairytale characters or creatures. The characters and their respective classic stories are each given an odd or idiosyncratic twist that creates a legal problem that is at the center of the mock trial. The students, at the end of the trial, will serve as the jury and determine the verdict. Wednesday’s case, Kingdom v. Gresham, is a twist on the classic Goldilocks classic fairytale. The Kingdom has brought charges of criminal trespass and destruction of private property (including Baby Bear’s iPod) against Janie Gresham (aka Goldilocks). Testimony will be provided by all three bears, Edward “Papa” Bear, Sonya “Mama” Bear, and Carey “Baby” Bear. Little Red Riding Hood will also be testifying on behalf of the prosecution. Goldilocks will argue the defense of necessity, as she was lost in the woods in the cold and feared for her safety.

Limited space is available for law students. If you wish to view the trial, please contact Greg Marinelli at gpmarinelli@email.wm.edu to reserve your seat.

CLCT will be organizing another Fractured Fairytale Trial toward the end of the Spring 2014 semester featuring guest appearances by faculty members for law school student viewing. For more information about Fractured Fairytales or CLCT, please contact Greg Marinelli at gpmarinelli@email.wm.edu.

 

Recent Visit by Administrative Law Judges

Administrative law judges from across the country visited the McGlothlin Courtroom on Mon., April 15 to attend a technology demonstration presented by the Center for Legal & Court Technology (CLCT).  The judges were visiting Williamsburg as part of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary’s 2013 mid-year conference.  CLCT’s demonstration highlighted courtroom technology from an administrative law judge’s perspective .  The speakers were Fred Lederer, chancellor law professor and director of CLCT, and Martin Gruen, deputy director of technology at CLCT.  After the demonstration, Gruen  presented a lecture entitled, “When Technology is Useful.”

eLearning Professional Development (ePD) Program

eLearning opportunities have begun at William & Mary Law School and the Center for Legal & Court Technology (CLCT).

We offer “on-demand” courses for students, alumni, attorneys, paralegals, litigation support professional, law enforcement, eDiscovery service providers and courtroom technologists for career development and advancement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to learn more about our 2013 eLearning courses!

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor of Gulfport, Mississippi recognizes CLCT for Hurricane Katrina Recovery Efforts

Recognition plaques from Gulfport, MS, presented to (from L-R) Fredric Lederer and Martin Gruen

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the city of Gulfport, Mississippi enlisted the Center for Legal & Court Technology (CLCT) to help redesign its municipal courthouse, which was destroyed in the storm.

CLCT — a public service organization at William & Mary Law School — accepted the project on a pro bono basis.

In the years that followed, CLCT staff and students worked with architects to redesign the Gulfport Municipal Court and outfit it with state-of-the-art technology.

The new facility opened in February 2011 as part of the Robert J. Curry Public Safety Center.  Meanwhile, CLCT continued its long-term commitment to help the Court streamline its operations.

This January, Gulfport mayor George Schloegel presented CLCT with a plaque recognizing its contributions to the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, and thanking CLCT for its years of service.

“Your assistance, in the designing of our court facility and implementation of legal technology in our courtrooms, has established us as a model for Municipal Courts in Mississippi,” said Schloegel in his letter to CLCT.

CLCT took on the project after the City of Gulfport’s Court Administrator visited William & Mary Law School and requested CLCT’s help in redesigning the courthouse.

The Gulfport Municipal Court is the trial court of first instance for domestic violence cases, criminal and traffic offenses, and environmental matters.  After the storm, it was relocated to trailers and then to a former elementary school.

CLCT was on the front lines of redesigning the arraignment and trial courtrooms.  The project was led by Lederer and CLCT’s Deputy Director Martin Gruen, who was instrumental in the technology and courtroom designs.  Numerous law students also assisted with the project.

“It’s very nice to have our work recognized,” said Fred Lederer, director of CLCT and chancellor professor of law.  “I’m particularly pleased that this was a project where our students were so heavily involved.”

–Liz Barry, CLCT fellow

Feinberg Visit

Ken Feinberg's topic: "Reflection on Mass Torts"During a recent trip to William & Mary Law School, attorney Ken Feinberg spoke to dozens of students about his work negotiating settlements for the victims of 9/11, the BP oil spill and other high profile cases.

Feinberg drew a packed audience to his lecture, “Reflections on Mass Torts,” where he described the challenges of providing justice in the wake of mass tragedies.  For torts students, the lecture provided an opportunity to apply the concepts they had been learning all semester.

“Engaging is a massive understatement,” said Tony Glosson, 1L, after Feinberg’s lecture. “He really just drew us in because he really is a master of this topic.”

In recent years, Feinberg has made regular trips to William & Mary Law School to mentor students and deliver lectures to the wider community. In 2011, he received the law school’s Marshall-Wythe Medallion, the highest honor conferred by the faculty, for his exceptional leadership and legal accomplishments.

During last week’s lecture, Feinberg explained that events like 9/11 can give rise to thousands of lawsuits, making it difficult to provide justice in an efficient and timely manner.

“The existing tort system doesn’t cope with the problem of mass torts,” he said.

Feinberg has been on the cutting edge of addressing this problem.  As Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, for example, Feinberg worked pro bono to distribute $7 billion in public money to victims and their families.  Feinberg explained that the 9/11 fund allowed victims to circumvent the court system and receive more immediate compensation.

Earlier in the day, Feinberg met with a group of about 30 students to dispense career advice, drawing on lessons from his own career.

In addition to his 9/11 work, Feinberg served as Fund Administrator for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund following the Virginia Tech shootings. He also oversaw the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which is administering $20 billion in claims from victims of the BP oil spill.  Currently, Feinberg is leading the effort to compensate the victims of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting and the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State.

Feinberg, who travelled to William & Mary at his own expense, encouraged students to focus on their immediate goals, rather than worrying about what their career will look like in five or ten years.  He explained that unexpected events can have a big impact on shaping careers, and counseled students to remain flexible to new opportunities.

“I’m the best example of a lawyer who never thought it important or imperative to think too far ahead,” he said.

–Liz Barry, Fellow at the Center for Legal & Court Technology

2012 Fractured Fairy Tale

Student Jury at Fractured Fairy Tale Tria

Elementary school students from across Williamsburg packed William & Mary Law School’s high-tech courtroom Nov. 2 to watch fairy tale characters pursue justice in a trial between Prince Charming and Don Pieman.

Fourth and fifth graders from five local schools attended the fractured fairy tale trial, and served as jury members.  The one-hour trial introduced the students to fundamental legal concepts, such as liability, the burden of proof, and the roles of counsel, jury and judge.

The event was organized by the Center for Legal & Courtroom Technology (CLCT), a public service organization at William & Mary.  This is the second consecutive year that CLCT has performed a fairy tale trial with local students serving as the jury.

“A large part of CLCT’s mission involves education,” said Christine Williams, CLCT’s Associate Director for Research, Entrepreneurship & Professional Education. “We view this exercise as an entertaining and informative way to assist local schools with civics instruction.”

The case involves Prince Charming, a handsome beast, and Don Pieman, the owner of a magical factory that allegedly polluted the kingdom’s drinking water.  Charming sued Pieman, claiming that contaminated water caused him to turn from a beast back into a normal man.  Charming argued that the transformation led to his break-up with fiancee Princess Catherine and the loss of a reality show contract.

Cast of Charming v. Pieman

The students had to decide whether Pieman’s factory polluted the drinking water, and was therefore liable for damages.
After weighing the evidence, the students delivered their verdict. A slim majority of students held that Pieman was not liable for damages to Charming.

CLCT chose the fairy tale format because it is an entertaining way to introduce elementary student to complex legal ideas.

“They’re learning without realizing it because they’re being entertained. And who doesn’t love a fairy tale?” said W&M law student and CLCT fellow Greg Marinelli, who played Rumpelstiltkin.

Though showcasing courtroom technology was not the trial’s focus, CLCT exposed the students to digital evidence and other high-tech features of the McGlothlin Courtroom.

For example, during Prince Charming’s testimony, the plaintiff’s attorney submitted electronic evidence of what Charming looked like when he was still a beast.  The students erupted into giggles when a snapshot of a furry, yet handsome beast, was displayed on flat-screen monitors across the courtroom.

During a discussion after the trial, many students said they came down in favor of Pieman because they believed Pieman’s employee, Rumpelstiltkin, actually polluted the water.

The attorney for Prince Charming said that Charming plans to appeal on the grounds the judge delivered faulty jury instructions when he failed to tell the jury that an employer can be liable for the actions of its employees.

Meanwhile, teachers plan to use the fractured fairy tale trial to teach their students real world lessons about the court system.

Due to high interest from local schools, CLCT is putting on an encore performance for fifth and sixth graders from Providence Classical School on Nov. 14.

–Liz Barry, Fellow for the Center for Legal and Courtroom Technology

 

Prince Charming Listening to Evidence

Simulation Trials with University of Montreal

Video deposition presented during simulation trial

At the University of Montreal — more than 700 miles north of Williamsburg — a team of researchers watched the live broadcast of a high-technology trial taking place in the McGlothlin Courtroom at the College of William & Mary Law School.

Rather than delivering traditional oral arguments, the attorneys used multimedia presentations to make their cases. In lieu of hard copies of evidence, the attorneys published photos and documents electronically to flat-screen monitors mounted across the the court room. When a witness was unavailable to make a courtroom appearance, the defense beamed in testimony using two-way conferencing technology.

The Center for Legal & Courtroom Technology conducted the Sept. 19th simulation trial as part of a seven-year research initiative funded by the Canadian government.  The event drew an audience of lawyers, technology experts, psychologists and students, both in Williamsburg and Canada.

Earlier that morning, CLCT conducted the same trial, a simulated negligence case, but without technology. The goal of the research initiative is to demonstrate the difference between traditional proceedings and a technology-based trial.

CLCT collected reactions about the strengths and weaknesses of each trial. Participants in Canada and Williamsburg said the simulation trials were a success.

Afghanistan Delegation Visits the McGlothlin Courtroom

A delegation from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan recently visited the McGlothlin Courtroom, where the Center for Legal & Court Technology provided them with a demonstration of the courtroom’s technical capabilities. Visitors included a chief justice, associate justice, juvenile court judge, prosecuting and defense attorneys, and a representative from the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Through an interpreter, the group expressed great interest in methods to incorporate technology into their court system. The key focus included the equipment and procedures for remote appearance and testimony, remote court reporting and the relating
legal issues.

Nigerian Delegation Visits McGlothlin Courtroom

Members of the Information Technology Policy Committee of Nigeria visited CLCT’s McGlothlin Courtroom on June 19th. Composed nearly entirely of chief judges, the Committee has asked for CLCT’s assistance in modernizing the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Committee members and CLCT staff reviewed the McGlothlin Courtroom’s trial and appellate technology and discussed how key technologies might be of use to Nigeria’s Supreme Court.

CLCT Director Frederic Lederer Speaks to the Wisconsin State Bar Association

Chancellor Professor of Law and CLCT Director Frederic Lederer recently spoke to the Wisconsin Bar Association’s at its annual recognition dinner. In an interview, Lederer said: “Our courtroom tools are changing, and the people we work with are changing. Lawyers must adapt if we are to continue doing our jobs as well as we should.”

Speaking about the importance of incorporating technology into legal practice and courtrooms, Lederer noted that—when used judiciously—technology can not only save costs but also enable participation in the legal process by individuals who might otherwise have difficulty doing so, such as the elderly or disabled. Acknowledging that many state courts are facing significant financial constraints, Lederer suggested that courts consider moving in small increments: starting with a single, inexpensive projection unit, for example, and then adding new elements over time.

The full video of Professor Lederer’s interview with the Wisconsin State Bar association is available below.