Last month, I told you Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Lyle had scheduled a business litigation trial to be conducted entirely via Zoom.
This was big news for laywers. After COVID-19 prevented most in-person court proceedings, many innovative courts began to conduct contested, non-evidentiary hearings via the phone or Zoom.
What was so interesting about this matter, however, was this was a full-blown trial, with witnesses and 61 exhibits. This required lots of advance planning, exchanging exhibits, and technical preparation (Does Zoom work? Can you share screens and jointly review exhibits?)
And, it worked. A link to the live-streams remains available at Part III’s YouTube channel. (What a crazy thing to type…”Part III’s YouTube channel.”)
It’s been an unprecedented time for our world, but it’s awesome to see our Tennessee Courts evolving to make sure matters get heard and also not being afraid to open up these news-worthy proceedings to the public.
My office is just down the street from the Davidson County Courthouse and only a block or two from the Tennessee Supreme Court, so it’s no big deal for me to stop by and observe an interesting or newsworthy court proceeding.
But, for the average citizen, the barriers to seeing the justice system at work are staggeringly prohibitive. The average person probably doesn’t know where the courthouse is, how to get there, where to park, or whether they are even allowed to “pop in” and watch a proceeding.
Long story short, the Tennessee Courts have really done a great job during the pandemic; not only staying open, but expanding and innovating. Here’s hoping that the progress continues.