Judicial EDI Committee Page

The Judicial EDI Committee deals with the legal and policy implications of electronic technology for communicating between lawyers and courts. The committee's name arose from the commercial technology of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and while law practice is focussed more on text and documents than "data" the committee has retained the original name.

Legal Citations

The committee's first project concerned the increasing use of electronic media to disseminate legal precedent. After inquiry, the committee recommended consideration of approaches to legal citations which would accommodate a greater variety of media and publishers while still preserving the ability of lawyers and judges to use a common shorthand in referring to case law. The committee's original proposal to the Section of Science and Technology in the summer of 1994 was carried forward by Section leadership in concert with other sections and resulted in appointment of an ABA committee on legal citation issues in the summer of 1995. That committee sought comment, held hearings in December 1995, issued a draft report March 18, 1996, reviewed comments on the draft report, and issued its final report on May 23, 1996 for presentation to the Board of Governors in early June 1996. A resolution on citations was approved by the Board and by the ABA in August 1996.

Electronic Filing

Electronic filing offers the prospect of reducing the time and cost of filing papers at the courthouse. However, effective use of this technology requires an investment in new procedures as well as hardware and software. Furthermore, transition issues are likely to be significant because it will take time for members of bench and bar to become sufficiently accustomed to the opportunities presented by the technology to decide among alternative procedures. Finally, there is an interplay between cost and consistency across jurisdictional lines. Ideally, the supporting technology should be adaptable enough that an attorney practicing in multiple jurisdictions will not have to make separate investments in technology for each jurisdiction. Ideally as well, courts will benefit from lower costs if there is common technology across jurisdictions and if, at the same time, this technology is adaptable to local procedures.

The focus of committee efforts in this area is on the role of lawyers and the bar. Progess will require coordination with courts and vendors. While ABA rules provide for associate membership for non-lawyers in some circumstances, the committee intends to rely upon an allied organization -- a consortium of lawyers, judges, court administrators and vendors incorporated under the name JEDDI -- for coordination with interested parties who are not lawyers.

Judicial EDI Committee Business

The committee conducts its business using a closed listserve available exclusively to members of the committee. In addition, there is an open listserve on related topics available to interested parties who are not members of the commitee (see JEDDI Homepage at NCSC).

In conjunction with the ABA Midyear Meeting in Nashville.

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