April 3, 2023
In 2020, a global shift occurred that prompted many industries to embrace new technology. Legal proceedings that previously followed strict in-person protocols suddenly shifted to a virtual environment and turned to platforms like Zoom for solutions.
While in-person hearings have now resumed in most jurisdictions, hybrid court proceedings are here to stay. This new reality is the driving force behind a new partnership between Zoom, BEINCOURT and Carahsoft, who share the mutual goal of supporting a seamless transition from the virtual courtroom to a hybrid one in jurisdictions across the country.
While the main benefit of virtual legal proceedings initially was continuity, other benefits quickly became apparent. Courtrooms using Zoom were able to expand access to a broader audience and make proceedings easier, more accessible and less financially burdensome for the parties involved.
Additionally, regarding court proceedings involving domestic violence or emotional abuse, the use of video technology provided victims peace-of-mind by allowing them to pursue justice through the legal system without having to share a room with their alleged abusers.
In essence, a hybrid model allows governments to reap the benefits of in-person proceedings and virtual ones. Even so, many courts need help choosing and procuring the right technology to enable this transition.
“Jurisdictions are at different stages of their technology journeys,” said Matt Mandrgoc, Head of U.S. Public Sector at Zoom. “With physical proceedings back underway, many courts are struggling to integrate video conferencing technology with traditional proceedings. That’s why this partnership and Carahsoft’s support is so important.”
As leaders in their respective spaces, BEINCOURT and Zoom are particularly well positioned to offer federal, state, and local governments a scalable, seamless way to support hybrid hearings. It is crucial for those physically in the courtroom to be able to interact with those joining virtually — just as it is crucial for the judge to remain in control of the proceedings.
By using BEINCOURT and Zoom together, the following features enable a seamless hybrid courtroom experience:
High-quality speakers and microphones
Multiple camera shots of the courtroom
Mechanisms for digital evidence presentation
Support for simultaneous language interpretation
Complete audiovisual control, including the option to stop screen or video sharing, and mute audio
Annotation and ASL capabilities for improved accessibility
The ability to play white noise to prevent attendees and jury members from hearing sidebar discussions
While Zoom and BEINCOURT offer the technology to power a hybrid courtroom, Carahsoft simplifies the procurement process for potential customers. Carahsoft will distribute the offering through relevant channels, tapping into their diverse public sector partner ecosystem.
Additionally, Carahsoft has built a mock hybrid courtroom simulation at its Reston, Virginia office that is also accessible virtually to remote customers and includes a bench, witness stand, counsel tables, two TVs (for screen-sharing and hybrid meetings), cameras, and miscellaneous hardware.