Information sessions opened this month for court partners interested in hosting cohorts of legal technologists and designers to improve access to justice.

Jason Tashea headshot
Jason Tashea

The new Judicial Innovation Fellowship program at Georgetown Law is being led by founding director Jason Tashea, an #A2JHero who I had the pleasure of working with while I was at the ABA Journal and recently had a chance to interview on the latest episode of LSC’s “Talk Justice” podcast.

We spoke about how the JIF program aims to develop processes and solutions at the court level that can be replicated, scaled and shared with state, local and tribal courts across the country. This approach to learning and scaling is one reason fellows won’t be paired with a single judge but instead will serve at the court level and be able to “level up” innovation already happening. Jason said, “We don’t want anything to be so discrete or so bespoke that it lives or dies at a specific courthouse.”

The JIF program takes an impressively holistic approach, focusing on, as Jason says, “the plumbing of the courts,” agnostic as to whether matters are criminal or civil, an academic distinction without a difference at a tech capacity and infrastructure level.

“The reality is the shortcomings of both systems look very similar, and they impact the same communities, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, in our communities,” Jason noted. At its core, criminal/civil file types don’t matter. So when it comes to data captures and useful features such as text messages/reminders, the issue is less a civil/criminal justice one but rather an economic, racial and gender justice issue.

Also impressive? How quickly this project went from concept to reality. The concept began as a whitepaper in February 2002, launched the following November, and applications began on Jan. 11. The initial cohort is scheduled to be in place by September 2023. As of the time of the podcast discussion, Jason had seen interest from over 100 court staff and technologies.

I look forward to following along as the cohorts develop and what I hope will be some key informational maps for courts and justice innovation advocates over the coming months and years. And I look forward to seeing some friendly competition develop in this space, with more resources, money and attention to improving access to justice for all.

Learn more about Georgetown Law’s Judicial Innovation Fellowship.

Listen and subscribe to LSC’s Talk Justice via Legal Talk Network, Apple, Spotify and more.