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Greenberg Traurig and the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts Release Report and Recommendations Addressing Future Trials and Trial Technology

NEW YORK– April 5, 2021- Greenberg Traurig, LLP, together with the New York State Unified Court System (UCS), released a report on April 5, 2021 that analyzes how evolving technologies and other developments may be applied to improve future trial practice in New York State. The Future Trials Report also offers recommendations regarding how USC may best prepare for, benefit from, and handle issues posed by such technologies.

The report was issued by the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts, whose members were appointed by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore in June 2020 and charged with making short-term recommendations to improve the delivery and quality of justice services, facilitate access to justice, and better equip UCS to keep pace with society’s rapidly evolving changes and challenges. The commission is chaired by Henry M. Greenberg, a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Albany office and immediate past president of the New York State Bar Association. The Future Trials Working Group, one of six working groups or subsets of the commission, prepared the report under the leadership of Richard A. Edlin, vice chair of Greenberg Traurig and shareholder in the New York office, with the support of a team including Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Jennifer A. Surprenant and litigation Associate Keith Hammeran.

The analysis and recommendations in the report are based on discussions with a broad range of UCS stakeholders; legal scholarship examining the ways in which technology (extant and emerging) will change trial practice in the near future; extensive research into the practical, moral, and potentially constitutional issues posed by emerging technologies; and media and other reports of other court systems’ efforts to hold remote trials during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Consistent with prior reports of the commission, the report offers five guiding principles for UCS’s evaluation of emerging technologies: fairness/equal access to justice; efficiency; reliability; ease of use; and financial cost. 

The report’s recommendations include encouraging UCS to:

  • partner with major internet service providers to supply all courtrooms in New York State with secure and reliable high-speed wireless internet;
  • create a pilot program for the streaming of trial-level court proceedings;
  • establish a committee of judges and permanent law clerks to periodically review and summarize developments and novel precedent in the handling of new forms of evidence and demonstrative presentations at trial;
  • commission an expert analysis of the ways in which currently available artificial intelligence technology may be applied to improve court efficiency;
  • create and implement best practices for remote bench and jury trials during the pandemic; and
  • establish a new mandatory training requirement for judges concerning new developments in technology and the legal issues presented by new forms of evidence.

“We are pleased with the publication of this report, which recommends meaningful ways that the New York State Unified Court System can incorporate existing and future technological advances into trial practice to improve judicial efficiency and access to justice for all New York litigants,” Edlin said. “Further to the charge given by Chief Judge DiFiore, we have also attempted to look ahead and anticipate some of the profound evidentiary and discovery challenges emerging technology will present and suggest a process to deal with those issues sooner rather than later.”

“The Future Trials Report builds upon what courts have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, during which they have utilized technology to ensure the New York justice system remains open and fair,” Greenberg said. “The report’s recommendations look beyond the current crisis, however, and lay the groundwork for New York courts to handle future crises and challenges.”    

About Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT), has approximately 2200 attorneys in 40 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. GT has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, diversity, and innovation, and is consistently among the largest firms in the U.S. on the Law360 400 and among the Top 20 on the Am Law Global 100. The firm is net carbon neutral with respect to its office energy usage and Mansfield Rule 3.0 Certified. Web: