Episode 42: Visiting Virtual Courts with Dan Jackson, Molly French and Shikha Silliman Bhattacharjee
In this episode we talk about virtual reality in courts and how it can promote access to justice. Having to go to court can be once in a lifetime experience for quite many people. It might be nerve- racking and even scary not knowing what is going to happen at court, especially for self represented litigants. A lot of courts might not even see this problem because for courts and people who work there, it’s everyday life. Besides financial resources, not being familiar with the court processes might affect people to seek resolution to their cases just because the whole concept is so hard to understand.
We meet with Dan Jackson, Molly French and Shikha Silliman Bhattacharjee who have created The Colorado Virtual Courthouse, a guided 360-degree virtual tour of a Colorado courthouse, designed to help Self Represented Litigants navigate court and improve access to justice. It introduces key court staff, explains common court procedures, and provides resources and information to promote better legal outcomes for self represented litigants.
Dan Jackson has directed the NuLawLab at Northeastern University School of Law since 2013. Dan is a 1997 graduate of Northeastern Law and a 1990 graduate of Northwestern University. Following a postgraduate clerkship with The Hon. Hugh H. Bownes at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Dan worked for 13 years with the law firm of Bingham McCutchen, ultimately serving as the firm’s director of attorney development after practicing in the employment law group. Prior to law school, Dan worked as a designer for theater. He continues to do so, most recently with the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival and The Provincetown Theater.
Molly French currently works as Technology Manager at Colorado Legal Services in Denver, CO. She is on the advisory board of the Legal Services National Technology Assistance Project, and has served as the Chair of the Colorado Access to Justice Commission’s Technology Committee, and is currently serving as a member of the Communications and Technology Committees. She is curious about and interested in all things technology-related to assist in the promotion of access to justice, including the integration of virtual reality into online tools, and broadband expansion efforts.
Shikha Silliman Bhattacharjee jointly founded HELM Social Design Studio in 2015, the first social design studio in South Asia dedicated to partnering with human rights defenders and their organizations to ideate, fund and build social design solutions that promote human rights and access to justice (http://helmstudio.org/). Her work is informed by more than a decade of experience working with more than 20 grassroots campaigns and civil society organizations in the U.S., South Asia, and East Africa, using legal, media and community organizing approaches. Shikha is a PhD Candidate in Jurisprudence and Social Policy at UC Berkeley. She has also completed a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a BA in English and Ethnicity, Race and Migration from Yale University. Her research takes an interdisciplinary and transnational perspective in understanding labour markets, supply chains, migration, and variegated citizenship with a focus on gender, race, and caste in the global economy.