She can answer FAQs about any courthouse. She helps you search court dockets. She can even direct court visitors to where they need be, and she can do it all in either English or Spanish.
Who is she?
CORA, the Court-Operated Robotic Assistant, is the first robotic solution designed for a court setting. Named after Ottawa County, Michigan’s first female Probate Court judge, Hon. Cora VandeWater, CORA passed a week of pilot testing as the country’s first robotic court greeter during mid-November 2018 at the Ottawa County Grand Haven Courthouse. Quickly winning over both court workers and guests with her helpful assistance, dance moves and selfie skills, CORA went on to attend the National Center for State Court’s (NCSC) 2018 eCourts Conference in Las Vegas. There, she continued to make it easy for guests to look up the conference schedule, read court publications, watch videos and, of course, dance.
A Greater Purpose Behind Her Screen
While CORA offers immediate assistance on several levels, the comfort and convenience she is currently providing through smaller-scale tasks is actually contributing to a greater purpose – bridging people into the future of court technology.
Rooted in tradition, courts tend to lag behind other industries when adopting new processes, especially when it comes to technology. But with undeniable elephants like access to justice sitting in every American courtroom, it’s becoming increasingly necessary that something be done. To face this challenge head-on, even many traditional judges, court clerks, and court managers are leveraging concepts like online dispute resolution (ODR), electronic filings (eFiling), workflows, and other court technologies to bridge poor and middle-class citizens to the legal assistance they need. And with CORA now on board, many are enjoying a positive, first experience with the future of court operations.
Back to the Future…
CORA may take us by the hand into the future of court technology, but the digital transformation only just begins with her. Online dispute resolutions, for example, will lend themselves to more than just e-commerce disputes and start making access to justice more affordable and efficient for a variety of public-sector cases. And as courts decide which functionalities to leverage, they may build their own solutions with snap-on, best-of-breed components – a concept known as the Component Model – instead of marrying one vendor for the entire solution. And, as always, evidence management regarding footage from body cameras and surveillance video will continue to evolve.
Tell Me More
Because the bi-annual eCourts conference serves to encourage the dialogue of future courts innovations, these topics were all at the top of discussion. In attendance and immersed in the conversations was ImageSoft President, Scott Bade, who gave us a briefing on all things eCourts during the most recent episode of the Paperless Productivity Podcast. But if you’d rather just skim the details, this blog has your back.