What are Tiny Chats?
Tiny Chats are bite-sized annotated videos that touch on specific access to justice topics and court operations.
Our most recent Tiny Chat
Tiny Chat 69: Postal Service Update
The US Postal Service recently implemented some new (and additional) changes, which will increase the delivery time for about 40% of first-class mail across the country. State and local courts rely on the US Postal Service to effectuate service, deliver time-sensitive documents and receive payments for fees and fines. The date a document is mailed or received can also have enormous implications, as many court rules specify those "triggering events" which can start the clock running toward things like a show cause order, a default judgment or wage garnishment. How can and should courts adapt to these latest changing USPS procedures and the implications of those changes? Join Zach and Danielle as they talk with Lori Shemka for a follow-up Tiny Chat to discuss several ways courts can better inform court users and reconsider operations to avoid complications.
Tiny Chats by category
More Tiny Chats
Tiny Chat 68: Tiny Chat Neighborhood - Salt Lake City Kayak Court
The Salt Lake City Justice Court has taken their show on the road, er, water! Join Zach and Danielle in the Tiny Chat neighborhood as they learn how Judge Jeanne Robison, Kim Russo, a social worker, and Allison Dupler, a member of the Salt Lake City Housing Stability Unit, came together to offer court services to unhoused community members along the Jordan River. They explain the origins of the program, how they offer services, and tips for how your court can do something similar. Mr. Rogers would approve.
Tiny Chat 67: Private Investigators - Georgia Record Restriction
Shoe leather, grit, and sharp eyes - that's the way to figure out how courts around the country have managed to dream up and implement innovations. Join Tiny Chats Private Investigators Zach and Danielle as they grill Jennifer Hubbard from Fulton County Georgia's State Court Self Help Center and Jennette Cheung from Afterpattern to get to the bottom of how they designed and launched an online tool to allow people to check their eligibility and apply to have their criminal records restricted.
Tiny Chat 66: Making Friends - A2J Commissions
It's time to make some new friends! Join Zach and Danielle as they talk with Judge McKeever from Iowa, Justice Rochford from Illinois, Justice Stacy from Nebraska, and Peter Edelman from DC - all of whom chair their state's access to justice commission. Of course, this isn't a normal interview. Watch this Tiny Chat for a discussion of time travel, changing into animals, learning new languages, and much more.
Tiny Chat 65: 50,000 Views Spectacular
Tiny Chats is celebrating a milestone - 50,000 views! Thank you for all your kind words, support, and to all our guests who shared their wisdom with our dear viewers over the last year and change. We love making Tiny Chats for you and are thrilled that so many of you enjoy them as well. To celebrate, please enjoy as Danielle and Zach answer your non-work related questions.
Tiny Chat 64: Hawai'i ODR
Hawai'i has launched a small claims online dispute resolution (ODR) system. Learn from Michelle Acosta from Hawai'i's First Circuit and Angela Min from the Hawai'i Supreme Court, who share Dehow it works, how they did it, and how your court can learn from their experience.
Tiny Chat 63: On Camera Tips
Rosie and Jason Ngyuen - the dynamic anchor and reporter duo from Salt Lake City's ABC 4 - join Danielle and Zach to offer tips and tricks for communicating on camera. Plus, Zach auditions to join the big leagues.
Tiny Chats 62: After the CDC Moratorium
The CDC Moratorium is no longer operable, so now what? We’ve got suggestions and best practices that state and local courts can plan for and implement to address the growing influx of eviction filings expected soon. Join Zach and Danielle as they build a plan with five potential responses for what courts can do in the short-term to be prepared.
Tiny Chat 61: What’s Next - Senior Judges
Courts across the country are grappling with huge backlogs, and one strategy for addressing backlogs is to bring back senior or retired judges to assist. Join us for another jaunt back from the future to highlight several important considerations for structuring senior judge programs.
Tiny Chat 60: CDC Eviction Moratorium, Part II
The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the CDC moratorium on evictions. While much of this Tiny Chat relates to the particulars of the CDC moratorium, this Tiny Chat remains highly relevant to those jurisdictions still operating under a state or local moratorium. But even more generally, many of the concepts discussed around notice of available rental assistance, referrals to available legal aid and other community resources, and eviction diversion strategies may be useful to viewers across the country.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued a revised evictions moratorium order. Return with us to the Tiny Chat kitchen for additional steps in the recipe for your court to follow in response to that order, plus stick around and re-watch the original CDC Moratorium Tiny Chat, which includes a discussion with Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, who shares how the Lone Star State has followed the recipe and gives details of their eviction diversion program.
Tiny Chat 59: Fair Housing
Equal access to rental housing and homeownership opportunities is really important. This Tiny Chat showcases how state courts can partner with federal agencies, like the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to prevent anyone, including new immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, families with children, and people with disabilities, from facing illegal discrimination. Tackling fair housing requires collaboration and partnership between state and local courts together with federal agencies, and often requires review of both state and federal fair housing law. Learn more from two very special guests: Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke and Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at HUD Janine Worden.
NCSC wants to make it easier for courts to help make the public aware of rental assistance available for renters and landlords. There is an unprecedented amount of rental assistance available to help renters who are struggling to pay rent and utilities; and in certain circumstances, landlords may also apply for rental assistance. We’ve made a brief public service announcement video for courts to post on their websites, which we will customize for a court system for free with the court’s logo and the rental assistance URL. The video is available in English, with subtitles into commonly spoken languages thanks to the kindness of Transcend Translations. Get in touch to customize this video to put on your website!
You've spent 10,000 hours on Zoom. Make the next hour even better, and not just for you. Keith Nalbandian from the Massachusetts courts shares some of his top tips, and while about Zoom, these are some real nuggets with broad applicability to other platforms and
as for communication in general as your court thinks about how to better engage their staff and remote court users.
Procurement and contracting aren't always the most exciting subjects, but they are really important, and believe it or not, are another way that courts can express their values and ensure procedural fairness. Luckily, this Tiny Chat is the cutest video about procurement you will ever see! Learn how to use an RFI and see kitties. Discover the power of an RFP and rainbows. Marvel at a joke that took us a month of preparation, and more!
Now is the time to make your court's website easier to find and use. Margaret Hagan, from Stanford's Legal Design Lab, has traveled through time with Danielle and Zach to teach you how. And you can sign up to join a cohort of courts looking to do the same.
Hybrid hearings are in the eyes of the beholder. There are many types that are useful for many different reasons. How will your court handle in-person and remote hearings? What kinds of things should you keep in mind? Have you seen any lovely art lately? Let all that and more wash over you in this Tiny Chat.
Tiny Chats explore a lot of access to justice topics from an operational, procedural, and sometimes even academic viewpoint. This chat is different. Danielle and Zach talk with Robyn about what it was like for her to try and get divorced from her abusive spouse, how it felt asking for a fee waiver, and what she wishes courts understood about what it is like for someone to try and use the system on their own. Access to justice is about people.
Danielle and Zach debut their first single, "File for Free." Thankfully for all concerned, they wrote it, but they don't sing it. For that, the extremely talented Wesleyan Spirits did an exceptional job arranging and performing the world's first absolute ear worm A-Ha cover about civil filing fee waivers. See more of the Wesleyan Spirits on Instagram @the_wesleyan_spirits and on YouTube.
Now is the time for your court to start thinking about how it will handle eviction cases. Zach and Danielle have traveled back in time from the future to offer courts four big picture things to consider as they prepare for an influx of eviction cases. Please watch, share, and heed this warning from the future - the time is now to start preparing.
Zach and Danielle are back in their red sweaters for another trip through the Tiny Chat neighborhood. Join Judge Keven O'Grady and Vannessa Rockers from Johnson County, Kansas' District Court to learn about their innovative night court program that allows court users to solve their problems outside of typical business hours.
Eviction diversion programs can be a win-win-win for tenants, landlords, and courts. Solomon Greene, from the Urban Institute, joins Danielle and Zach to discuss the key features and lessons learned from their nationwide study of 46 eviction diversion programs. Get the highlights from the chat, and be sure to read the report.
Here is the good news: You can learn how to user test in six easy steps. User testing can improve your court, improve the experience of users, and reduce staff burdens by improving communications, forms, websites, and more. Here is the bad news: those idiots from Tiny Talks make a guest appearance. Those guys are the worst.
In this episode Zach and Danielle ask court staff weird questions, laugh at the answers, and make some new friends. Who doesn't love making new friends? Come meet Brett Howard from California, Aja Brooks from New Mexico, and Bridget Gernander from Minnesota.
Life is made up of choices. A series of decisions that come one after the other, day after day. Some made quickly, others take longer to deliberate. Join Zach and Danielle as they talk with their colleague, Dr. Andrea Miller, about her research with the American Bar Foundation, where she studied judicial decision making related to race, gender, and socio-economic status with all the trial judges in a state. She shares key findings from that work, including the need to confront bias and the value of deliberative decision making.
Incarcerated litigants are part of the community. In this edition of Tiny Chat Neighborhood, come learn from Presiding Judge Dickler of the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois about how she partnered with legal aid and leveraged technology to provide family law services to litigants in prison. Learn why and how your court can replicate this program.
Make your meetings better! Danielle and Zach are joined by Kelly Tautges, Pro Bono Counsel and Director at Faegre Drinker, and Julia Wilson, of Julia Wilson Coaching and Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, who share important and tangible lessons about how people can plan and lead more engaging and effective remote meetings.
Edwin Bell, NCSC's Director of Racial Justice, Equity, and Inclusion, joins Danielle and Zach to discuss how courts can use data and improve policies to advance equity and inclusion goals.
In the courts there are two separate yet equally important groups - the people who work in the courts and the people who use them. How does your court inform court users? First, hear from the public about what they know about the courts. Second, Danielle and Zach talk with Stacey Marz and Rebecca Koford from the Alaska courts to discuss how they keep the public and the media informed and dispel misconceptions.
Have you seen the lawyer cat? Meet Judge Roy Ferguson (394th Judicial District, Texas), the man behind the moment from that hearing. Learn how this is actually an access to justice moment.
Rochelle Klempner from the New York Unified Court System joins Zach and Danielle to explain how courts can harness the power of plain language to better inform court users. Using plain language saves courts and patrons time and money, improves public confidence and trust, increases court efficiency and operations, and provides greater understanding and access to justice.
In a nod to the Super Bowl and the power of cheesy local commercials, Danielle and Zach take a quick spin through some innovations and practices that can improve court operations. Learn about tools for evaluating caseflow management, methods for bridging the digital divide, the power of behavioral nudges, and some examples of a clerk's office going virtual.
Step into the Tiny Chat lab! Zach and Danielle are joined by Brittany Kauffman from the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System to discuss best practices that courts can employ when handling debt collection cases. Put on your lab coat and join us as we walk through the periodic table of debt collection cases innovations and strategies. Be sure to download the included reports and the periodic table itself!
- Debt Collection Table Companion
- Debt Collectors to Consumers
- Fair and Efficient Handling of Consumer Debt Actions: Key Steps and Tools to Implement NOW Webinar
- Key Steps and Tools to Implement Now to Ensure the Fair and Efficient Handling of Consumer Debt Actions
- Preventing Whack-a-Mole Management of Consumer Debt Cases: A Proposal for a Coherent and Comprehensive Approach for State Courts
Courts and clerks can work together with police and other community partners to offer criminal records sealing and expungement summits, with powerful individual results for those assisted and with great benefit to the community at large. Danielle and Zach are joined by Katie Blakeman, who shares her successful strategy honed over the years during her tenure as Clerk of the Circuit Court in Champaign County, Illinois. She explains how to work with partners to create a summit, how she successfully pivoted to host a virtual summit this year, and tips for those interested in doing this in their community.
This is the true story of three judges, strangers, picked to answer the same questions, work together to advance access to justice, and have the whole thing taped. Find out what happens when people stop being polite, and start getting... well, they are all pretty polite. Zach and Danielle talk to some of our country's finest jurists about the stuff that matters, like what makes a good morning, memories from growing up, and what access to justice means to them.
There is only one definitive source when it comes to learning more about self-help kiosks - the pages of Sea Captain Monthly. Grab your coat, comb your beard, and practice your "Ahoy!". Danielle and Zach recite the Sea Captain's Kiosk Pledge, take a kiosk quiz, and explain how your court can set up a self-help kiosk.
Julia Weber is an expert at visual communication and she joins Danielle and Zach to discuss (and show!) how visual elements can be incorporated into court communications and instructions to aid in understanding, retention, and stress reduction. Julia shares some basics techniques, some workhorse icons, and explains how you, yes you, can do this in your court. You can connect with Julia here.
Imagine doing something you've never done before. You're unfamiliar with the steps you need to take. You don't know what you'll need, how long it will take, or what it will cost. Could be a little stressful, right? If you're Zach, that thing is making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you're a court user it could be any number of things - from filing a complaint to completing a form to serving the other party. Join Danielle and Zach as they give you some tips on how to write good instructions.
Being a criminal defendant in the court system is hard. Being a prosecutor in the court system is hard. Being a judge in the court system is hard. Being a cop is hard. They could all run away. Or they could all run together. Zach and Danielle put their red sweaters back on to talk with the incredibly inspiring Judge Craig Mitchell, founder of the Los Angeles based Skid Row Runners Club, as part of an ongoing series about how courts can connect with their communities.
Welcome back to the Tiny Chats neighborhood. In this series, we don our red sweaters, channel Mister Rogers, and showcase courts engaging with their communities in the most wonderful of ways. Could your state's supreme court hold oral arguments at local high schools? Of course they could! Join Danielle and Zach as they talk with Juile Finn from Maine's Judicial Branch about their long-running and beloved program doing just that.
Zach and Danielle made a PSA. Watch and/or steal it here! Giving court users good guidance around procedural issues is really important. Mistakes can trip them up to the detriment of their case and uninformed court users can take up a lot of staff time asking the same kinds of questions over and over. We made a short video that you can use to explain service of process to your court users and we hope you will take it and use it! Want to modify it or talk through other types of procedural information?
Sign up for a call here and be sure to check out the companion document with some great examples from around the country.
Every week is a good week to celebrate pro bono. Zach hosts Danielle and Kelly Tautges, Pro Bono Counsel at Faegre Drinker, for an intense game of "How well do you know pro bono and how well do you know each other?" Watch them battle it out and offer up a variety of ways that courts can engage with and support pro bono.
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Join Zach and Danielle for the first Tiny Chat in a series highlighting innovative ways courts are engaging with their communities, styled in loving tribute to Mister Roger's Neighborhood. This conversation is with Judge Libby Hines from Michigan's 15th Judicial District and it details her Street Outreach Court - how it was established, its impact, and ways other courts could follow this model.
Wanna play a game? Join Zach and Danielle for a game of Uno and learn the difference between legal information and legal advice. Now more than ever, it is important to give court users as much information as possible. Understandably, court staff are careful not to cross the line from neutral party to advocate. Learn the ins-and-outs, see some Five Purrel examples from other jurisdictions, and have a laugh - or your money back.
The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the CDC moratorium on evictions. While much of this Tiny Chat relates to the particulars of the CDC moratorium, this Tiny Chat remains highly relevant to those jurisdictions still operating under a state or local moratorium. But even more generally, many of the concepts discussed around notice of available rental assistance, referrals to available legal aid and other community resources and eviction diversion strategies may be useful to viewers across the country.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued a nationwide evictions moratorium order. Join Zach and Danielle in the Tiny Chat kitchen for the recipe your court can follow in response to that order. And if that weren't enough, they are joined by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, who is also Chair of CCJ and Co-Chair of the CCJ/COSCA Pandemic Response team. Chief Justice Hecht shares how Texas followed the recipe described to respond to the order and shares details of their ambitious eviction diversion program.
A judge and a doctor walk into a Tiny Chat... and we all learned a lot! Join Danielle and Zach as they discuss the parallels between the medical and legal professions with Judge Jennifer Bailey and Dr. Danielle Ofri. Cross-sector thinking about check-lists, procedural fairness, how to handle high volume patient/patron settings, and so much more.
Danielle and Zach are getting in shape with some tips and a plan from Mary McClymont on how to start a non-lawyer navigator program. Mary offers an overview of the kinds of navigator programs in operation, the ways they have adjusted to COVID, and a plan for your court to launch their own program. And that's not all! Coach Mary is available for free personal training to discuss details and answer your questions. Sign up to talk with her at ncsc.org/drtinychat.
In this Tiny Chat, Danielle and Zach open the edition by discussing CCJ/COSCA's six guiding principles courts should follow when considering the adoption of new technology, and how to apply them. The show is stolen, however, by five state Chief Justices who are brought in to serenade the hosts with a tribute to the 1947 children’s classic, Goodnight Moon.
School is back in session! Join Zach & Danielle for Unbanked 101, their teeniest Tiny Chat yet (only five and a half minutes). We guarantee you'll learn something and be entertained, or your money back!
Let's go on an online dispute resolution (ODR) road trip! Join Zach and Danielle as they cross the country exploring key considerations for jurisdictions considering ODR. See the sights, learn some lessons, and keep your eyes peeled for a special guest.
Danielle and Zach are joined by Paula Hannaford-Agor (NCSC) and Emily LaGratta (LaGratta Consulting) to discuss how courts can take steps to ensure procedural fairness, especially during the pandemic. Come learn the foundational tenets and how they can be applied in remote proceedings.
Courts rely on the US Postal Service to effectuate service and to deliver time sensitive documents. The date a document is mailed or received can also have enormous implications, as many court rules specify those "triggering events" which can start the clock running toward things like a default judgement or wage garnishment. How can and should courts adapt to changing USPS procedures and the implications of those changes? Watch to find out.
NCSC Consultants Danielle Hirsch and Zach Zarnow know that courts can't solve the digital divide on their own. But they also know of many examples from across the country of ways that courts can still make a difference in assisting court users overcome barriers to technology. Join them in a lightning round to hear them all!
It is never the wrong time to show empathy and practice mindfulness, and right now it is even more important than ever. Judge Steven Leifman from Florida's 11th Judicial Circuit (Miami-Dade County) offers his perspective on how judges and court staff can be kind, practice mindfulness and help court patrons during these difficult times.
Tiny Chat 15: Poverty
- Andrew Hammond, Pleading Poverty in Federal Court
- Victor D. Quintanilla, Doing Unrepresented Status: The Social Construction and Production of Pro Se Persons
- Kathryn M. Kroeper and Victor D. Quintanilla et. al., Underestimating the Unrepresented: Cognitive Biases Disadvantage Pro Se Litigants in Family Law Cases
First, Professor Andrew Hammond from the University of Florida Levin College of Law join Zach and Danielle to explain poverty. Professor Hammond details how poverty is measured, how the pandemic has affected people living in poverty and offers ideas for how courts can improve civil filing fee processes to meet the needs of those living in poverty.
Next, Danielle and Zach talk with Adrian Barr, Managing Attorney of the Bloomington Office of Prairie State Legal Services, to discuss poverty behind the statistics. Adrian shares several moving stories about clients he has helped, and the difficulty reality for many of those he has been unable to serve.
Tiny Chat 14: Data
Carlos Manjarrez and Dan Bernstein from the Legal Services Corporation join Zach and Danielle to discuss how courts can use data. They offer nine concrete tips that will help courts make better use of their data and explain the benefits of collaborating with outside data analysts.
NCSC's own Diane Robinson joins Danielle and Zach to explain the National Open Data Court Standards (NODS) project and how courts can take advantage of all the NODS resources. Check it out at ncsc.org/nods to learn how your court can use NODS to create, share, and integrate user-friendly court data.
How can courts safely offer in-person self-help services? Danielle and Zach are joined by NCSC Senior Architect and Facilities Planner Allie McKenzie to discuss six tips from their new paper exploring this topic.
What is it actually like to be a self-represented litigant? What better way to find out than to ask? Zach and Danielle sit down with Monica, who shares her story of trying to utilize the court system without a lawyer.
David Slayton, Administrative Director of the Texas Office of Court Administration joins Danielle and Zach to discuss new guidance from CCJ/COSCA on high volume dockets during the pandemic. Start watching a Tiny Chats dive into high volume week here and please enjoy our very first scripted skit - the High Volume Docket Cafe!
Erika Rickard, Project Director at the Pew Charitable Trust's Civil Legal Modernization Unit, joins Danielle and Zach to share some high level takeways from their excellent recent report on debt collection. Then, Zach and Danielle try their hand at some car puns. Watch to find out why!
Has one man ever been so pleased with another man's mustache? Unlikely. Zach and Danielle talk with Mark Swartz, Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing about procedural considerations in evictions cases as well as tips for working with civil legal aid partners.
Associate Judge Jeremy Fowler of Potter Co., TX joins Danielle and Zach to explain his lessons learned and technology suggestions for approaching remote child support hearings.
Zach and Danielle are joined by Dave Byers, Arizona State Court Administrator, to discuss remote scheduling and payment options for traffic cases.
Jennifer Hubbard, from the Fulton County Self-Help Center, asks Danielle and Zach to explore the trends they are seeing in language access during the pandemic in the latest mailbag Tiny Chat.
Chief Justice Bridget McCormack of the Michigan Supreme Court and Dan Heath, New York Times best-selling author of the book Upstream, join Danielle and Zach in a Tiny Chat about trying to solve problems before they happen and system design in the justice system.
NCSC Consultants Zach Zarnow and Danielle Hirsch are answering your questions as part of a series of special mailbag episodes. First up, how can courts better partner with non-traditional stakeholders? Featuring Utah Supreme Court Justice Dino Himonas and Amy Duncan from the Louisiana State Bar Association.
How can courts approach the processes for the application and review of civil filing fee waivers during the pandemic? What should courts consider to ensure court staff and self-represented litigants understand the necessary steps and requirements for requesting a civil filing fee waiver while also accounting for social distancing requirements? Would it help if NCSC Consultants Zach Zarnow and Danielle Hirsch rhymed about this?
In the sixth Tiny Chat, NCSC Consultants Danielle Hirsch and Zach Zarnow interview court staff and partners from six states to learn how their jurisdictions are handling self-represented litigant e-filing during COVID-19. Join us on a spin across the country as we learn more about their various approaches during the pandemic.
What can state birds teach us about digital signatures, notarization, and digital notice? Not much, but they are nice to look at. Join NCSC Consultants Danielle Hirsch and Zach Zarnow in this latest Tiny Chat, which outlines initial digital alternatives to in-person procedural requirements for court pleadings. This Tiny Chat builds on the Digital Divide episode and foreshadows the next episode on Self-Represented Litigant E-Filing.
With many court services now being offered online, Zach and Danielle discuss the impact of the digital divide with Monica Anderson from the Pew Research Center and David Kelly from the US Children's Bureau. Also appearing: questionable head wear and two surprise guests.
Zach and Danielle are joined by Karen Lash, federal grants guru, who helps them understand the federal block/formula/open-end reimbursement funds (AKA pass-through funds) available to court systems navigating COVID-19 with a focus on civil self help, technology innovation and domestic violence.
In this Tiny Chat, Danielle Hirsch and Zach Zarnow offer five tips for courts to keep in mind when crafting a communication strategy around COVID-19. They also look at some concrete examples of courts communicating well and fail at solving a Rubik's cube.
The first chat focuses on how courts should think about court users in their response to COVID-19.