T he COVID-19 pandemic arrived as a cataclysmic shock to the court system, demanding quick decisions to adapt to fast-changing circumstances. What came as a surprise was how positive and potentially lasting some of those changes could become. It’s by no means clear what lies ahead. But many leaders see the opportunity to draw on the lessons of the past two years and release some of the conventions of the past. Ideally, they’ll continue to welcome fresh perspectives and bring newfound energy to the idea of building a better system, one that prioritizes access, efficien- cy, communication and collaboration. Some of the most evident benefits came from remote proceed- ings, which removed hurdles that hassled the public. For many, transit, parking and other logistics and expenses are a very real
burden. User-friendly features born of the pandemic, including the ability to pay for tickets online or over the phone, quickly became favored. Other positive impacts came from establishing new ways to connect, even when not physically together. Hosting remote marriages and Zoom adoption ceremonies al- lowed celebration from afar, connecting family and friends who might have otherwise missed out on these milestone events. Vic- tims and survivors were shown a new level of empathy as they re- lived some of their most difficult or traumatic experiences from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Still more improvements came from the revelation of forced, but ultimately flowing, collaboration across the statewide system of courts.
CHICAGO DAILY LAW BULLETIN • LAW DAY 2022 9
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