*** Attention all Queens County commercial litigators: If you have a case before Judge Grays, be sure to bring an HDMI cable and a USB drive with you to court from now on! ***
One of the themes that we’ve developed on this blog over the years has been the implementation of technology in the courts of the Commercial Division, as well in the rules that govern the practice of law in those courts.
We’ve regularly reported on such developments in the context of the individual practice rules of certain Commercial Division judges, as well as in certain NYSBA-sponsored events showcasing the new Integrated Courtroom Technology (or “ICT”) program in the Commercial Division, including in Westchester County (Walsh, J.) in June 2018 and New York County (Scarpulla, J.) in April 2019.
This past Tuesday, members of ComFed’s Committee on the Commercial Division (including Hamutal Lieberman and yours truly from this blog), along with Queens County Commercial Division Justice Marguerite A. Grays, presented a similar program called “The Electronic Courtroom: Using Integrated Courtroom Technology,” which took place in Justice Grays’s beautiful, oak-paneled courtroom (Part 4, Room 66). As with our New York County program in April of this year, the Queens County program was well-attended and well-received by approximately 30 lawyers, judges, and other court personnel.
Many of the same features and equipment were on display during the program, including the 86-inch interactive Smartboard, which works in conjunction with counsel’s laptops, tablets, and USB drives, and on which they are able to display, highlight, and even annotate their documents and videos during oral argument and at trial. The “ELMO” document camera, which allows counsel to project unique documents and other physical evidence onto the Smartboard for judge and/or jury to see, also was prominently featured during the program.
And if that wasn’t enough courtroom technology for one day, the presenters then promptly Uber’d their way through midday metro traffic back to Manhattan Commercial Division Justice Saliann Scarpulla’s Part 39 for a redux of their April program – this time entitled “The Electronic Courtroom: Using Integrated Courtroom Technology in State and Federal Courts on Motions and at Trial” and sponsored by the Second Circuit Judicial Council and the New York State-Federal Judicial Council. In addition to demonstrating the existing Smartboard, ELMO, Skype, and audio/visual-impaired technologies, the presenters were given the opportunity to showcase the courtroom’s new, interactive witness-stand monitor, which allows a witness during her testimony to identify, highlight, and annotate with a stylus or her own finger the documents, photos, and other evidence displayed by counsel on the Smartboard.
I’ll say it again: If you’ve been reluctant to introduce technology into the way you litigate your commercial cases in New York, the Commercial Division may soon leave (indeed, already has left) you behind.