To address critical needs of the legal community, Bennett Jones has released a whitepaper on Imagining the Ideal Video-Conferencing Solution for Hearings, Arbitrations, Mediations, Depositions and Corporate Meetings. It provides a human-centred design of what an ideal video platform would look like and is the firm's response to the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Global Legal Hackathon Challenge.
This year’s Hackathon Challenge is one of the largest legal innovation events in history. Bennett Jones’ submission was one of more than 170 projects received from 70 countries.
The Hackathon asked the global legal industry to come up with innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the shortcomings of various existing platforms that have been quickly adapted to the legal industry during the pandemic, Bennett Jones took on the challenge of designing the ideal video-conferencing solution.
“Many of the rules for the use of remote video-conferencing in legal applications have been in place for years, but the technology has not been well-adopted,” says Michael Smith, litigation partner at Bennett Jones. “The pandemic is a catalytic event that has made robust video-conferencing an immediate need, and that need will continue to grow as the technology's ability to enhance access to justice is recognized.”
Bennett Jones' project team started by looking at what users need in a system, where the current technologies are falling short, and the best practices being used by the courts and others in running virtual hearings, trials and arbitrations.
“Innovation must enhance the client experience,” says Gino Scapillati, Vice Chair, Strategy and Innovation at Bennett Jones. “Technology is not a solution in itself, what matters is how it’s applied to a problem or pain point. Bennett Jones has a strong culture of innovation and our lawyers readily jumped into this challenge. It is too soon to speak of next steps, but we are aiming to contribute to future actions that would bring such a platform to life.”
At the heart of the Bennett Jones solution are powerful host controls to allow the system to be customized and scaled to critical needs. Meeting map windows provide a graphical representation of the meeting or hearing, showing the layout of a typical courtroom, hearing room or meeting room. Within the map, each participant's name appears under their avatar in the position they would occupy if the meeting or hearing were in-person.
“The challenge we set ourselves caused an exciting spark of creativity and imagination at the firm,” Kate Simpson, National Director of Knowledge and Practice Innovation at Bennett Jones. “It gave us the opportunity to design a part of the future that re-imagined the courts as more than just a place; instead a service that all of society can participate in. We used a Design Thinking framework to take us from the problem space through to the design of a useful, usable and engaging video-conferencing solution.”
The full whitepaper is available at Imagining the Ideal Video-Conferencing Solution. It can also be viewed at the Global Legal Hackathon Challenge website along with the other submissions from the global legal industry.
About Bennett Jones
Bennett Jones is one of Canada's premier business law firms and home to more than 400 lawyers and business advisors. With deep experience in complex transactions and litigation matters, the firm is well equipped to advise businesses and investors with Canadian ventures, and connect Canadian businesses and investors with opportunities around the world.