As chair of the Specialty Treatment Courts in Jefferson Parish, La., Judge Scott U. Schlegel manages what may be one of the most advanced courts in the country for delivering justice online, and he does it almost entirely with off-the-shelf software he cobbled together himself.

Even before the coronavirus crisis caused courts to shut down, Judge Schlegel was conducting hearings via Zoom, scheduling sessions via Calendly, and communicating with staff and counsel via Slack.

But when courthouses in Jefferson Parish closed last month, it presented an even-greater challenge for the programs Judge Schlegel oversees, which focus on treatment and rehabilitation of drug and alcohol offenders.

With help from legal technology companies, he rallied to further innovate, working with LawDroid to create a text-based chatbot to check in on probationers and with Documate to develop an online system for defendants to enter guilty pleas from prison.

In this episode of LawNext, Judge Schlegel joins me to describe the systems he has built and how they are being used to keep the wheels of justice turning even with courthouses shut down.


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Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.