I was speaking to an attorney last week. In fact, given that the annual New York Legal Tech conference was in town, I had an opportunity to speak to multiple attorneys and judges.
One of the questions that I asked of this attorney was why the Courts seem to be so overwhelmed. This savvy lawyer observed that the Courts still require certified documents.
The following example was cited: for those cases, such as matrimonial cases, where individual incomes need to be assessed and validated, the Courts still require certified copies from the IRS.
This seemed odd to me. The IRS provides a quite convenient on-line service that allows individual tax payers to get the necessary documents via its Get Transcript portal. Surely this information would be more up-to-date than requesting, certifying and getting a mailed copy. No doubt, calculating attorneys and litigants could take advantage of delays at the IRS to get out-of-date information to game the system.
It seems that although the Courts have been making progress in terms of documenting cases, electronically scanning documents submitted for evidence, some Courts still depend on the old fashioned way of validating information.
This is odd to me.
There is more data on the web that is available securely than ever before. Here’s a start-up idea: a Court certified escrow for log in information! This is not so far off. Companies like Yodlee already act as escrow for login information for bank accounts. Intuit’s Mint.com has a similar system for tracking personal income and expenses to provide a single dashboard view of one’s net worth. H&R Block’s tax software helps individual tax payers to electronically file and subsequently track one’s tax returns.
It has often been said, governments and the Law are too slow to catch up with modern technology. There are so many government services that are offered online, from checking the status of a parking ticket, to submitting tax returns, payment of the said tax return, unemployment and other social security benefits that provide up-to-the-minute authoritative information, Courts should leverage the availability of this data and information and other forms of electronic discovery to speed up cases, and not have to adjourn or delay trials based on getting the necessary evidence via slow, antiquated and analog methods.
… One can dream!