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Implementation Lab Initiative

In February 2021, the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) Rapid Response Team (RRT) selected and notified over 40 sites to kick-off the work of the Implementation Lab. Sites were selected from across about a dozen categories, representing innovations underway in 19 states. All selected sites will benefit from participating in a national learning community that will share resources, experiences, and challenges. Sites will be participating in regular workshops and receiving one-on-one technical assistance from subject matter experts and connect with other courts that are implementing similar innovations. Ultimately, each of the sites’ implementation plans, progress, challenges, and sustainability strategies will be synthesized and documented to provide implementation recommendations for the national court community.

The categories include:

Frameworks:

Things a Court Manager Should Consider Regarding Remote Work. NCSC's document outlines initial considerations and remote work basics while also providing policy excerpts and examples that can assist courts with developing a policy that meets the needs of their organization.

Minnesota Judicial Branch In-Person, Hybrid, and Remote Work Framework. This document details the guidelines that were established in determining its in-person, hybrid and remote work plan.

Minnesota Judicial Branch (MJB) Strategic Initiative: In Person, Hybrid & Remote Work Initiative. This presentation identifies the types of jobs/work that can be conducted remotely and identify best practices for determining whether new hires should be remote, in-person, or hybrid.

Remote work policies and agreement forms:

Remote Work Policy, 2021. The Minnesota Judicial Branch Policy No. 322 defines the branch's remote work policy, implementation authority and executive limitations.

Policy/Procedures, 2021. This document, revised for 2021, defines the Minnesota Judicial Branch policy and procedures for remote work and includes the Remote Work Agreement Form.

Remote Work Policy, 2021. This policy, effective May 2021, defines remote work arrangements for all judicial officers and employees working for the Kansas Judicial Branch.

Remote Work Agreement. This document and form governs the remote-work arrangements of the Kansas Judicial Branch.

Survey examples:

Massachusetts Appeals Court Staff Survey. This 14-question survey by the Massachusetts Appeals Court addresses issues related to returning to the courthouse, continuation of remote work arrangements and how they should be managed, maintaining employee engagement and a collegial environment.

Results of Massachusetts Appeals Court Staff Survey. This documents shows the results of Massachusetts Appeals Court Staff Survey.

Remote Technology Hearing Attorney Survey. This 24-question survey by the Minnesota Judicial Branch asked attorneys about their experience with remote hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Post-Remote Hearing Survey. Minnesota's 10-question survey gathers participant feedback following remote hearings.

Survey for Employees. The Minnesota Judicial Branch revised its Quality Court Workplace employee survey to capture changes to their work caused by the pandemic.

Survey for Judges / Justices. The Minnesota Judicial Branch revised its Quality Court Workplace survey for judges and justices to capture changes to their work caused by the pandemic.

Survey on Remote Hearings and Other Strategies. Respondent answers helped define the different strategies used to complete the work of the Minnesota Judicial Branch during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Self-Help Center Phone Survey. The Minnesota Judicial Branch conducted a survey of customers about their experience doing court business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources:

Workable Considerations When Drafting or Updating Remote-Hearing Protocols. This resource highlights how different state and local jurisdictions have administratively approached common “operational” considerations when developing or updating rules, administrative orders, or guidance for the remote court setting. It is a companion reference to the National Scan of Remote-First and Remote-Friendly Court Rules, the six Guiding Principles for Post-Pandemic Court Technology, the “Digital Divide and Access to Technology” section of NCSC’s 2020 national survey analysis of Jury Trials in a (Post) Pandemic World, and How to Conduct a Fair and Just Remote Hearing Reference Guide.

Remote Virtual Lists. Many state courts have begun implementing rule changes to establish a remote-first or remote-friendly approach that provides access and protects the rights of litigants. This resource collects those rule changes as a resource for courts considering similar rules changes.

Technology Considerations for Remote and Virtual Hearings. This overview introduces the Court Technology Framework,  with case studies from Delaware and Vermont and additional resources.

Remote and Virtual Hearings. A presentation explaining the Technology Considerations Matrix.

Courtroom Technology. A list of audiovisual equipment profiles and considerations.

Survey examples:

Court User Survey - Remote Hearings. This Implementation Lab survey template is designed for courts wanting feedback from remote-hearing participants on their experience.

Virtual Court Survey for Judges and Staff. This Implementation Lab survey template gathers feedback from judges and court staff on the current and possible future uses of Zoom, YouTube, and other applications.

Eviction Diagnostic Tool. An online guided interview that helps courts determine eviction diversion readiness.

Housing Stability. This Urban Institute webinar examines the pandemic’s effect on housing stability and renter vulnerabilities.

What’s Next for Evictions. In this short video, our Tiny Chat hosts cover four areas that courts need to review to prepare for an influx of eviction cases.

Consumer Protection. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau interim final rule regulating debt collectors and the CDC order are discussed in this April 2021 policy briefing.

Other categories also being explored are:

  • Pre-Trial Practices
  • Domestic Violence
  • Online Dispute Resolution
  • Virtual Jury Selection and Jury Trials
  • Self-Represented Litigants
  • Language Access Technology
  • Juvenile Justice Diversion
  • Eviction Diversion
  • Case Management (Civil Justice Initiative and Family Justice Initiative or Criminal)

Applications remain open

While initial sites have been selected, courts are encouraged to continue to submit applications in our rolling application process. Click here to view, download and save the application form. Once your form is completed, return it via email to Nora Sydow.

More about the RRT Implementation Lab Initiative

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, CCJ and COSCA’s RRT and NCSC have worked to identify and develop innovations and new practices in response to the pandemic. As a result, state courts have seen more transformation in the last nine months than it has in the last several decades. To help spread this innovation widely and to continue to learn from sites implementing new practices, the RRT and NCSC launched the 2021 Implementation Lab Initiative with funding from the State Justice Institute. The overall goal of the Implementation Lab Initiative is to foster the implementation of sustainable innovations across a large, diverse group of courts throughout the United States, to continue to learn about the impact of these innovations, and to nationally spread lessons learned throughout the process.