SESSION THREE – Legal Tech and Access to Justice

This session will focus in on the distributive effects of new legal technologies within the civil justice system. If the 2008-2009 Great Recession is any guide, the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will trigger a spike in consumer credit and eviction cases, placing substantial pressure on state courts to innovate, including expanded use of virtual hearings, pre-hearing diversion programs, and court-ordered online dispute resolution processes. The coming surge will also bring to a boil an already-simmering debate about the high prevalence of pro se litigants within the system. All of these issues raise important questions about the degree to which the uptake of new legal technologies, and the rules governing their use, will widen or narrow the gap between litigation’s “haves” and its “have nots”—a core concern of anyone working within the civil justice field.