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Friday, November 8 • 8:30am - 10:00am
Online Courts: Closing the Justice Gap in the Lone Star State

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More than 30 million people annually attempt to navigate civil legal issues in state courts without a lawyer. Recognizing that simple cases should not need a lawyer if people have the right tools, courts are utilizing technology to allow people to resolve their disputes entirely online without ever setting foot inside a courtroom. In Texas, judges, mediators, court administrators, legal aid attorneys, and technology personnel joined forces to pilot an emerging tool: online dispute resolution. This panel highlights how Collin County officials engaged stakeholders across the private and public sectors, developed a sustainable funding model, and produced plain-language legal information for litigants, effectively challenging “politics as usual” by revealing both the economic and public benefits of civil justice innovations.


James Esh

Managing Attorney, McKinney Branch, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas
James V. Esh is managing attorney of the McKinney Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas (LANWT) Branch Office. He supervises 16 staff and more than 300 ongoing matters. James was formerly the managing attorney of the Wichita Falls Branch office and an active member of LANWT’s board of directors... Read More →
avatar for Amie Lewis

Amie Lewis

The Pew Charitable Trusts, Senior Associate, Civil Legal System Modernization
Amie Lewis is currently with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Civil Legal System Modernization Project, where she works to make the nation’s civil legal system more accessible and affordable by implementing the most promising technologies and tools to assist self-represented litigants... Read More →

Charles "Chuck" Ruckel

Judge, Collin County Justice Court 3-1
Judge Charles “Chuck” Ruckel is the presiding Judge for Collin County Justice Court 3-1 located in Plano, Texas. His precinct population is approximately 350,000 and includes parts of the city of Dallas that are located in Collin County. In fiscal year 2019, he will see approximately... Read More →

Ben White

IT Senior Manager, Collin County Information Technology
Ben White is currently a Senior Manager in the Information Technology Department for the government offices of Collin County, Texas. He is responsible for the Courts and Justice project implementations for Collin County and presides over the Odyssey Change Control Board, which is... Read More →

Friday November 8, 2019 8:30am - 10:00am EST
Nicolet A 5th Floor